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Soldier  poets 


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The  most  significant  literary  volume  connected  with 
the  war  :  a  revelation  and  an  inspiration  :  of  great  individual 
and  historic  interest  and  value. 

SOLDIER  POETS 

SONGS  OF  THE  FIGHTING  MEN 

A  representative  collection  of  new  poems  (not  previously 
published  in  volume  form}  by : 

E.  d'A,  B.,  Major,  $$th  Division,  France, 

S.  Donald  Cox,,  Rifleman,  London  Rifle  Brigade. 

Joseph  H.  Courtney,  Lieut.,  R.A.M'.C. 

E.  J.  L.  Garstin,  Lieut.,  nth  Batt.  Middlesex  Regt. 

Julian  Grenfell,  D.S.O.,  Capt.,  Royal  Dragoons, 

Wilfrid  J.  Halliday,  Private,  i  tfhBatt.,  West  YorksRegi, 

G.  Rowntree  Harvey,  Royal  Flying  Corps, 

W.  N.  Hodgson,  M.C.,  Lieut.,  Devon  Regt. 

Geoffrey  Howard,  Lieut.,  Royal  Fusiliers. 

Malcolm  Humphrey,  Lance-Corpl.,  A.O.C.,  B.E.F., 

East  Africa. 

Dyneley  Hussey,  Lieut.,  i  tfhBatt.  Lancashire Fusiliers . 
John  Lodge,  Lieut.,  Beds.  Regt, 
E.  Hardress  Lloyd,  Lieut.,  London  Irish  Rifles. 
George  C.  Michael,  Lance-Corpl.,  Royal  Engineers. 
Evan  Morgan,  Lieut.,  Welsh  Guards. 
Sydney  Oswald,  Major,  Kings  Royal  Rifle  Corps. 
A,  Victor  Ratcliffe,  Lieut.,  West  Yorkshire  Regt. 
Alexander  Robertson,  Corpl,,  1 2th  York  &  Lancasters. 
H.  Smalley-Sarson,  Private,  Canadian  Contingent. 
C.  H.  Sorley,  Capt.,  Suffolk  Regiment. 
H.  Spurrier,  Private,  Royal  Warwickshire  Regt, 
John  W.  Streets,    Sergt.,   i2th   Service  Batt.,    York 

&  Lancaster  Regt. 

Gilbert  Waterhouse,  Lieut.,  2nd  Essex  Regt. 
E,  F.  Wilkinson,  M.€.,  Lt,  1/8  Batt.,  West  Yorks. 

f,  .. 

ERSKINE   MACDONALD,   LONDON,   W.C. 


SOLDIER   POETS 

SONGS  OF  THE  FIGHTING  MEN 


SOLDIER  POETS 

SONGS  OF  THE  FIGHTING  MEN 


LONDON 

ERSKINE   MACDONALD 
MCMXVI 


Copyright,  Erskine  MacDonald,  in  the 
United  States  of  America 

First  Edition,  cloth,  September  1916 
Trench  Edition  .     .  September  1916 


Preface 

THIS  volume  has  grown  out  of  a  suggestion 
made  by  a  firm  of  booksellers  who  were  in- 
spired by  a  letter  in  The  Times  in  April  last, 
headed  "  Soldier  Poets,"  which  directed  attention 
to  the  fine  spirit  animating  the  poems  by  Corporal 
Streets,  whose  sonnet  "  Gallipoli "  had  appeared 
a  few  days  previously.  Slowly  and  without  effort 
the  scheme  of  the  volume  has  matured  and  several 
distinct  features  have  evolved. 

Although  this  representative  collection  is  not  an 
anthology — it  consists  of  work  hitherto  unpublished 
in  volume  form  of  a  number  of  "  soldier  poets " 
brought  together  within  one  cover — the  contents 
have  assumed  a  certain  homogeneity.  They  define, 
record  and  illustrate  the  aspirations,  emotions, 
impressions  and  experiences  of  men  of  all  ranks 
and  branches  of  the  Army,  and  they  reveal  a  unity 
of  spirit,  of  exultant  sincerity  and  unconquerable 
idealism  that  makes  the  reader  very  proud  and  very 
humble.  And  if  some  of  them  deal  with  home 
themes  by  way  of  solace  amid  the  horrors  of  war, 
the  poems  are  essentially  war  poems,  revealing  the 
soul  of  the  soldier  going  into  battle,  describing 
7 


Preface 

incidental  scenes,  focusing  the  feelings,  both  in- 
dividual and  general,  of  a  unique  body  of  fighting 
men.  For  one  may  claim  that  this  volume  repre- 
sents the  soldier  as  poet  rather  than  the  poet  as 
soldier.  It  is  typical  of  that  intensification  of  feel- 
ing and  concentration  of  expression  developed  by 
military  service  in  the  defence  of  country  under 
extraordinary  conditions  which  have  yielded  a 
surprising  volume  of  fine  poetry.  "  I  know  of  no 
one  to  compare  him  to  but  the  Archangel  Michael  " 
was  said  of  the  poet-paladin  Roland.  The  noble 
Achilles  of  the  West  has  to-day  many  brave  peers 
who  face  battle  with  a  song,  Michaels  and  Rolands 
of  civilization. 

Any  objection  that,  since  practically  all  men  of 
active  age  have  been  drawn  into  the  Army  willy- 
nilly,  the  term  "  soldier  poet "  is  ambiguous,  has 
already  been  met.  Even  a  cursory  glance  at  this 
volume  will  show  that  the  authors  are  soldiers 
whose  military  service  dates  back  in  most  cases  to 
the  early  days  of  the  war,  if  not  earlier,  and  not 
conscript  poetasters  who  have  found  a  new  stimu- 
lant to  jaded  literary  exercises.  The  note  of 
pessimism  and  decadence  is  absent,  together  with 
the  flamboyant  and  hectic,  the  morose  and  the 
mawkish.  The  soldier  poets  leave  the  maudlin 
and  the  mock-heroic,  the  gruesome  and  fearful 


Preface 

handling  of  Death  and  his  allies  to  the  neurotic 
civilian  who  stayed  behind  to  gloat  on  imagined 
horrors  and  inconveniences  and  anticipate  the 
uncomfortable  demise  of  friends. 

What  seem  to  me  to  be  the  characteristics  of 
this  volume  give  it  more  than  a  literary  and  tem- 
porary value.  When  the  history  of  these  tremen- 
dous times  comes  to  be  written,  the  poetry  of  the 
period  will  be  found  to  be  an  illuminating  index 
and  memorial.  And  the  historian  will  be  least 
able  to  neglect  the  poetry  of  the  camp  and  the 
battlefield,  which  reflects  the  temper  and  experi- 
ences of  our  great  citizen  army.  The  spirit  that 
has  turned  our  soldiers  into  poets  is  the  spirit  of 
the  V.C. — brave  and  debonair,  but  neither  melan- 
choly nor  mad.  It  is  not  a  new  spirit,  but  a  new 
bright  efflorescence — a  survival  and  a  revival. 
"  The  half-men,  with  their  dirty  songs  and  dreary  " 
were  stricken  dumb  by  the  storm — at  the  most, 
they  whimpered  in  safety  with  none  to  heed  them  : 
the  braver  spirits  were  shocked  into  poetry  and  like 
the  larks  are  heard  between  the  roaring  of  the  guns 
—the  articulate  voices  of  millions  of  fighting  men, 
giving  to  poetry  a  new  value  and  significance. 

For  many  months  this  new  verse — vivid,  definite, 
concentrated,  and  not  a  mechanical  echo  any  more 
than  a  striving  after  new  or  bizarre  effects — has 


Preface 

flowed  in  from  all  parts  of  our  far-flung  battle-line. 
Scores  of  slim  volumes  and  hundreds  of  separate 
poems  have  come  from  men  in  the  Army — from 
France  and  Flanders,  Gallipoli  and  the  Soudan, 
Egypt  and  East  Africa.  The  published  volumes 
have  not  been  laid  under  contribution,  but  some 
of  the  poems  collected  here  have  appeared  in  The 
Poetry  Review,  in  which  a  greatly  appreciated 
feature  has  been  made  of  contributions  by  soldiers, 
while  we  are  indebted  to  The  New  Witness  for  per- 
mission to  include  typical  poems  by  Lieutenant 
Geoffrey  Howard  and  the  late  Lieutenant  W.  N. 
Hodgson,1  M.C.,  who  left  Oxford  to  join  the  Army 
and  found  a  grave  in  France  in  July  last.  About 
the  same  time  Lieutenant  Victor  Ratcliffe1  was 
killed  in  action  near  Fricourt,  and  as  this  volume 
is  going  through  the  press  we  hear  that  Sergeant 
Streets,1  who  was  a  miner  before  he  enlisted  in 
August,  1914,  and  Corporal  Robertson  have  been 
"missing"  since  July  I.  This  is  their  priceless 
legacy.  No  further  introduction  or  commentary 
is  needed. 

GALLOWAY  KYLE. 

"THK  POETRY  REVIEW"  OFFICE, 
September,  1916. 


1  Memorial  volumes  are  in  preparation  for  early  publication. 


10 


Contents 


H.  D'A.  B.,  Major,  55th  Division  (B.E.F.,  France)—  PAGE 

Marthe 15 

The  March 15 

Givenchy  Field 16 

No-Man's- Land 17 

The  Counter-attack 18 

JOSEPH  COURTNEY,  Lieut.,  R.A.M.C. — 

"  As  the  Leaves  Fall " 19 

S.  DONALD  Cox,  Rifleman,  2/5  C.L.R.,  London 
Rifle  Brigade—- 
To My  Mother— 1916 22 

The  Song  of  The  Happy  Warrior     ...      22 

E.  J.  L.  GARSTIN,  Lieut.,  I2th  Battalion,  Middlesex 
Regiment — 

To  the  Rats 24 

Lines  written  between   I  and  2.30  a.m.  in  a 
German  dug-out 25 

JULIAN  GRENFELL,  D.S.O.,  Captain,  Royal  Dra- 
goons— 

Into  Battle 27 

To  a  Black  Greyhound 29 

The  Hills 30 

Hymn  to  the  Fighting  Boar      .        .        .        .  32 

To  the  Mussourie  Race  Club    ....  34 

II 


Contents 

PAGE 

WILFRID  J.  HALLIDAY,  Private,   i3th  Battalion, 
West  Yorks.  Regiment— 

The  Grave 36 

The  Awakening 37 

The  Red  Cross 38 

The  Gleam 39 

To-day 39 

G.   ROUNTREE   HARVEY,  2/A.M.,   Royal    Flying 
Corps — 

The  Maid  of  France 41 

Mother  of  Sons 42 

GEOFFREY  HOWARD,  Lieut.,  Royal  Fusiliers— 

The  Beach  Road  by  the  Wood  ...  43 
"Without  Shedding  of  Blood  ..."  .  .45 
England 46 

MALCOLM  HUMPHREY,  Lance-Corporal,  A.O.C. — 

Hills  of  Home 48 

DYNELEY  HUSSEY,  Lieut.,  i3th  Battalion,  Lanca- 
shire Fusiliers- 
Youth         50 

Security Sl 

Courage 52 

The  Dead 52 

Joy 53 

Mirage 54 

E.  HARDRESS  LLOYD,  Lieut.,  London  Irish  Rifles      55 

JOHN   LODGE,  Lieut.,  8th  Battalion,  Bedfordshire 
Regiment — 

God  and  the  Child 56 

On  Zeppelin  Picquet 57 

To  Our  Child  Unborn 58 

12 


Contents 

PAGE 

"EDWARD  MELBOURNE"  (W.  N.  HODGSON,  M.C.), 
Lieut.,  Devon  Regiment — 

Durham 60 

Before  Action     .        .        .        .        .        .        .61 

Back  to  Rest 62 

GEORGE  C.  MICHAEL,  Lance-Corporal,  R.E.— 

An  April  Song 63 

THE  HON.  EVAN  MORGAN,  2nd   Lieut.,  Welsh 
Guards — 

What  of  the  Dead  ? 65 

The  World's  Reward 66 

SYDNEY  OSWALD,  Major,  King's  Royal  Rifle  Corps— 

The  Dead  Soldier 68 

Dulce  et  Decorum  est  pro  Patria  Mori     .        .  69 

The  Attack 70 

The  Aftermath 71 

The  Battlefield 72 

A.  VICTOR  RATCLIFFE,  Lieut.,  io/i3th  West  York- 
shire Regiment — 

At  Sundown 73 

Into  the  Night 74 

Optimism 75 

ALEXANDER  ROBERTSON,  Corporal,  I2th  York  and 
Lancasters — 

"  We  shall  drink  to  them  that  sleep  "        .        .76 
A  Midnight  Reflection  in  a  Hut        ...      77 
To  an  Old  Lady  seen  at  a  Guest-house  for 
Soldiers 79 

13 


Contents 

PAGE 

H.  SMALLEY  SARSON,  Private,  Canadian  Contin- 
gent- 
Raindrops 80 

The  Armed  Liner 80 

The  Village,  1914 81 

The  Village,  1915 83 

To  Sister  E.  W 85 

The  Shell .        .        .86 

C.   H.   SORLEY,   Capt.,   7th   S.   Battalion,   Suffolk 
Regiment — 
Fragments         .......      87 

Prometheus  Vinctus  Loquitur  ....      88 

H.  SPURRIER,  Private,  Royal  Warwicks— 

The  Charge  at  Neuve-Chapelle         ...      90 
The  Guerdon 92 

JOHN  WILLIAM  STREETS,  Sergt.,  i2th  York  and 
Lancasters — 

Youth's  Consecration 95 

At  Dawn  in  France 96 

Love  of  Life 98 

An  English  Soldier 98 

A  Soldiers'  Cemetery 99 

A  Lark  above  the  Trenches      .        .        .        .100 

GILBERT  WATERHOUSE,  Lieut.,  2nd  Essex— 

The  Casualty  Clearing  Station  .        .        .        .     101 

E.  F.  WILKINSON,  M.C.,  Lieut.,  i/8th  Battalion, 
West  Yorks.  (Leeds  Rifles)— 

Dad  o'  Mine      .......     102 

To  "  My  People,"  before  the  "Great  Offensive"     104 


H.  D'A.  K.    :, 
MAJOR,   55TH   DIVISION  (B.E.F.,:  FRANCE) 

Marthe 

MARTHE  of  the  lowered  eyes ; 
Eyes  beautiful  that  seem  to  dim 
Like  violets  at  the  water's  rim, 
Marthe  of  the  lowered  eyes. 

Marthe  of  the  pale,  pale  face  ; 
That  shows  the  anxious  soul's  suspense, 
And  sorrow  veiled  by  reticence, 

Marthe  of  the  pale,  pale  face. 

Marthe  of  the  heart  of  gold  ; 
Where  hid  as  in  a  cloister-cell 
Abides  her  love  for  him  who  fell, 

Marthe  of  the  heart  of  gold. 


The  March 

EECE  lances  of  a  phantom-troop 
The  rain  sweeps  by  in  level  lines 
Where  stunted  pollard-willows  droop 
And  slag-heaps  lift  o'er  gutted  mines. 
15 


Soldier  Poets 

A  sky  morose,  tempestuous,  black, 

The  low  horizon  misty-wan, 
And  silent  o'er  the  long,  long  track 

A  khaki  column  trudging  on. 

Past  gaping  roofs  and  tumbled  stalls, 
Past  dismal  yards  and  hovels  damp, 

Where  eyeless  windows  mock  the  walls, 
They  march  with  hollow- thudding  tramp. 


Givcnchy  Field 

THE  dead  lie  on  Givenchy  field 
As  lie  the  sodden  Autumn  leaves, 
The  dead  lie  on  Givenchy  field, 

The  trailing  mist  a  cerement  weaves. 

Abandoned,  save  for  murder's  work, 
A  mine-shaft  bulks  against  the  stars, 

And  fast  receding  in  the  mirk 

The  trenches  show  like  umber  scars. 

"  All's  quiet,"  the  sentry's  message  runs, 
Outwearied  men  to  slumber  yield  ; 

The  rain  drips  down  the  hooded  guns, 
All's  quiet  upon  Givenchy  field. 
16 


H.  D'A,  B. 

No-Man's'Land 

^HERE'S  a  zone 
Wild  and  lone 
None  claim,  none  own, 
That  goes  by  the  name  of  No-Man's-Land ; 
Its  frontiers  are  bastioned,  and  wired,  and  mined, 
The  rank  grass  shudders  and  shakes  in  the  wind, 
And  never  a  roof  nor  a  tree  you  find 
In  No-Man's-Land. 

Sprung  from  hell 

Monsters  fell 

Invisible 

Await  who  venture  through  No-Man's-Land, 
Like  a  stab  in  the  dark  is  the  death  they  deal 
From  an  eye  of  fire  in  a  skull  of  steel 
When  the  echoes  wake  to  their  thunder-peal 

In  No-Man's-Land. 

They  that  gave 
Lives  so  brave 
Have  found  a  grave. 
In  the  haggard  fields  of  No-Man's-Land, 
By  the  foeman's  reddened  parapet, 
They  lie  with  never  a  head-stone  set, 
But  their  dauntless  souls  march  forward  yet 

In  No-Man's-Land. 
B  17 


Soldier  Poets 

The  Counter-attack 

A  WAXEN  moon  hung  high  in  night's  black 
tent, 

A  ghost-wind  in  the  branches  stirring, 
And  from  the  ridges  tunnelled,  scarred  and  rent, 
A  deep  and  sullen  boom  recurring. 

Flash  follows  flash.     A  lurid  fan-like  glare 

The  ebon  vault  an  instant  blenches, 
While  green  and  crimson  rocket-signals  flare 

In  No-Man's-Land  between  the  trenches. 

Shells  shriek,   bombs  crash  and  thunder,   bullets 
whine, 

Tornado  hideous,  evil-boding, 
That  rolls  in  vain  against  our  serried  line, 

Alert  for  onslaught,  calmly  loading. 

Now  up  and  at  them.     Shouts  exultant,  harsh, 

A  melee  of  cold  steel  colliding, 
Gaunt  shadows  grappling  in  a  bloody  marsh, 
'   And  low  moans  rising  and  subsiding. 


18 


JOSEPH  COURTNEY 
LIEUT.,  R.A.M.C. 

"As  the  Leaves  Fall" 

Autumn,  1916 

A  ND  the  leaves  fall  .  .  . 
-/A.  The  silver  and  the  golden  fall  together, 
A-mingled  irresistibly  like  tears. 

The  low-branched  elms  stand  idly 

In  all  the  full-leaved  glory  of  their  life  : 

Yet  here  and  there  a  yellow  flake  slips  slowly, 

And  the  branch,  where  once  it  hung,  lies  bare. 

Below  they  lie — the  golden  fruits  of  day. 

And  a  soft  spirit  of  the  night 

Weaves  the  white  spell  of  sleep  about  their  feet. 

And  the  leaves  fall  .  .  . 
The  great  sleep  of  the  trees  is  nigh  : 
The  flowers  are  dead. 
Yet  through  the  fine-spun  web  of  mist 
Gleams  faintly  Michael's  pale  blue  star.  .  .  . 
A  time  of  sad  soul-hunger,  unspeakable  desire, 
That  clutches  at  the  heart  and  drags  the  soul ! 
19 


Soldier  Poets 

And  the  leaves  fall.  .  .  . 

Is  there  a  far  faint  life 

Whispers  with  blood-choked  voice  thy  name  ? 

Whispers  but  once — no  more  ? 

Then  weep  ye  now,  O  Mothers ! 

And,  Maidens,  weep  ! 

O  England,  rend  the  raiment  of  thy  wealth  : 

Tear  the  soft  vesture  of  thy  pride  ! 

Let  the  tears  fall  and  be  not  comforted  ! 

In  all  their  youth  they  went  for  thee  ; 

In  all  their  strength  they  died  for  thee  ; 

And  so  they  fell, 

As  the  leaves  fall. 


Yet  they  say  you  are  dead  ? 

Ask  of  the  trees.     Perchance  they  hear 

A  distant  murmuring  of  pulsing  sap. 

Perchance  in  their  dim  minds  they  see 

Pale  curled  leaves  that  strive  to  greet  the  sun. 

Perchance  they  know  of  yellow  daffodils 

Will  dance  again. 

Yet  the  leaves  fall  .  .  . 

And  yonder  through  the  mist  is  Michael's  star- 
Saint  Michael  with  his  angel-host ! 
Ay  !  see  them  as  they  sweep  along 
20 


Joseph  Courtney 

Borne  on  an  unseen  wind  to  the  far  throne  of  God. 

And,  Mothers,  see  ;   O  Maidens,  look 

How  the  world's  Christ  stoops  down  and  kisses  each. 

And  listen  now  and  hear  their  cry, 

As,  lances  raised,  they  greet  their  King — 

"  There  is  no  death  .  .  .  There  is  no  death  .  . 

No  death  .  .  ."  and  comfort  you, 

When  the  leaves  fall. 


21 


S.  DONALD   COX 

RIFLEMAN,  2/5  C.L.R.,  LONDON  RIFLE  BRIGADE 

To  My  Mother— 1916 

IF  I  should  fall,  grieve  not  that  one  so  weak 
And  poor  as  I 
Should  die. 

Nay  !  though  thy  heart  should  break 
Think  only  this :  that  when  at  dusk  they  speak 

Of  sons  and  brothers  of  another  one, 
Then  thou  canst  say — "  I  too  had  a  son  ; 
He  died  for  England's  sake  !  " 


The  Song  of  The  Happy  Warrior 

THE  song  of  the  boy  who  was  brave  and  fair, 
He  was  young  and  his  eyes  were  grey, 
He  was  swift  to  run  and  strong  to  strive 

And  ready  for  any  play. 
He  climbed  to  the  top  of  the  apple  tree 

When  nobody  else  would  dare  ; 
He  couldn't  get  down  and  he  feared  he'd  fall 
As  the  branch  swayed  in  the  air. 

22 


S.  Donald  Cox 

O  !   the  ground  seemed  such  a  way  below, 
But  he  smiled  a  doubtful  smile-a, 

And  he  grit  his  teeth  and  sang  "  Cheer-o  !  " 
Though  the  drop  to  the  ground  seemed  a 
mile-a. 

The  song  of  the  man  in  the  khaki-coat 

As  he  stands  in  the  wet  and  snow, 
A  smoking  rifle  in  his  hands 

And  his  feet  in  the  mud  below. 
The  tale  of  the  charge  and  the  man  that  fell, 

Of  the  tunic  dyed  with  red, 
The  tight-clenched  teeth  and  the  clammy  brow 
And  the  stain  where  the  wound  had  bled. 
O  !  he  groaned  as  he  jolted  to  and  fro 

And  wan,  wan  was  his  smile-a, 
But   he   grit    his    teeth    and    he   hummed 

"  Cheer-o ! " 
And  he  died  at  the  end  of  a  mile-a. 


E.  J.  L.  GARSTIN 

LIEUT.,  I2TH  BATTALION,  MIDDLESEX  REGIMENT 
(B.E.F.) 

To  the  Rats 

O   LOATHSOME   rodent  with   your   endless 
squeaking, 

You  hurry  to  and  fro  and  give  no  peace, 
Above  the  noise  of  Hun  projectiles'  shrieking 
The  sound  of  scratching  footfalls  never  cease. 

There  is  a  thing  which  I  could  never  pen, 
The  horror  with  which  I  regard  your  race, 
For  how  can  I  describe  my  feelings  when 
I  wake  and  find  you  sitting  on  my  face. 

Oh,  how  shall  I  portray  the  depths  I  plumb 
When,  stretched  upon  this  bed,  my  body  numb, 
I  see  you,  agile,  helter-skelter  fly. 

Oh,  Ignominy  !  while  I  sleepless  lie, 

You  play  your  foolish  games  with  eager  zest 

And  sport  and  gambol  freely  on  my  chest. 


24 


E.  J.  L«  Garstin 

Lines  written  between  1  and  2.30  a.m. 
in  a  German  dug-out 

OH  horrible  !    How  can  the  pen  describe 
The  ghastliness  of  that  which  meets  the  eye, 
The  devastation  and  the  f rightfulness  ? 
It  seems  as  if  some  superhuman  force, 
Vast  and  malevolent,  had  passed  this  way, 
Tormented  by  the  Furies  till  its  hate 
Became  insensate  and  demoniac  c 
Then,  prompted  by  its  innate  cruelty, 
Had  ravaged  where  it  went  and  had  destroyed 
All  that  it  met,  and  made  the  countryside 
A  scene  of  horror  without  parallel. 
Vast  craters  pit  the  ground,  no  blade  of  grass 
Is  left  to  shew  what  was  a  fertile  plain  ; 
Now  is  all  barren,  rugged,  hideous, 
The  nightmare  landscape  of  a  fevered  brain. 
And  scattered  over  all  the  stricken  field, 
See  lie  the  shattered  bodies  of  the  slain 
In  all  the  ghastly  postu rings  of  death, 
Their  attitudes  suggesting  all  their  pain  ; 
While  over  all,  despite  the  blazing  sun, 
There  hangs  the  shadow  of  a  lurking  death, 
And  in  the  cannon's  never-ceasing  roar 
One  hears  the  knell  of  many  friends  and  foes  : 
But  yet,  for  ever  boastful  of  our  worth, 
25 


Soldier  Poets 

We  vaunt  ourselves  and  puff  our  chests  with  pride, 

Saying  that  man  was  ne'er  so  civilized, 

No  age  so  cultured.    How  the  gods  must  smile 

At  such  a.  paradox,  at  such  a  lie  ! 

With  frightful  ingenuity,  perhaps, 

We  have  amassed  a  quantity  of  means 

Whereby  to  sow  destruction  and  to  kill 

Each  other ;   yet  the  thought  cannot  be  crushed 

That,  to  be  civilized  means  something  more. 

It  is  so  trivial,  for  here  are  we, 

Who  are  but  particles  upon  a  world, 

Itself  a  minute  atom  lost  in  space, 

At  war  with  one  another,  filled  with  hate 

And  lust  to  kill  and  primal  savag'ry. 

What  is  the  use,  when  all  is  said  and  done, 

If  we  have  hurried  to  eternity 

The  souls  of  many  million  fellow-men  ? 

Our  lives  are  but  a  moment  in  all  time, 

A  fleeting  instant,  quickly  come  and  gone  ; 

Why  fret  ourselves  in  order  to  curtail 

The  short  existences  of  other  men  ? 

And  yet,  in  order  to  achieve  this  end 

We  suffer  untold  hardships,  spend  our  wealth, 

Endure  the  indescribable,  and  strain 

Our  ev'ry  sinew,  muscle,  energy, 

And  name  us  patriots ! 


26 


JULIAN   GRENFELL,   D.S.O. 
CAPTAIN,  ROYAL  DRAGOONS  (B.E.F.) 

Into  Battle 

THE  naked  earth  is  warm  with  Spring, 
And  with  green  grass  and  bursting  trees 
Leans  to  the  sun's  gaze  glorying, 

And  quivers  in  the  sunny  breeze  ; 
And  Life  is  Colour  and  Warmth  and  Light, 

And  a  striving  evermore  for  these  ; 
And  he  is  dead  who  will  not  fight ; 
And  who  dies  fighting  has  increase. 

The  fighting  man  shall  from  the  sun 

Take  warmth,  and  life  from  the  glowing  earth  ; 
Speed  with  the  light-foot  winds  to  run, 

And  with  the  trees  to  newer  birth  ; 
And  find,  when  fighting  shall  be  done, 

Great  rest,  and  fullness  after  dearth. 

All  the  bright  company  of  Heaven 
Hold  him  in  their  high  comradeship, 

The  Dog-Star,  and  the  Sisters  Seven, 
Orion's  Belt  and  sworded  hip. 
27 


Soldier  Poets 

The  woodland  trees  that  stand  together, 
They  stand  to  him  each  one  a  friend  ; 

They  gently  speak  in  the  windy  weather  ; 
They  guide  to  valley  and  ridge's  end. 


The  kestrel  hovering  by  day, 

And  the  little  owls  that  call  by  night, 
Bid  him  be  swift  and  keen  as  they, 

As  keen  of  ear,  as  swift  of  sight. 


The  blackbird  sings  to  him,  "  Brother,  brother, 
If  this  be  the  last  song  you  shall  sing 

Sing  well,  for  you  may  not  sing  another  ; 
Brother,  sing." 


In  dreary,  doubtful,  waiting  hours, 
Before  the  brazen  frenzy  starts, 

The  horses  show  him  nobler  powers ; 
O  patient  eyes,  courageous  hearts ! 


And  when  the  burning  moment  breaks, 
And  all  things  else  are  out  of  mind, 

And  only  Joy  of  Battle  takes 

Him  by  the  throat,  and  makes  him  blind, 
28 


Julian  Grenfell,  D.S.CX 

Through  joy  and  blindness  he  shall  know, 
Not  caring  much  to  know,  that  still 

Nor  lead  nor  steel  shall  reach  him,  so 
That  it  be  not  the  Destined  Will. 

The  thundering  line  of  battle  stands, 
And  in  the  air  Death  moans  and  sings  ; 

But  Day  shall  clasp  him  with  strong  hands, 
And  Night  shall  fold  him  in  soft  wings. 

FLANDERS,  April,  1915. 


To  a  Black  Greyhound 

SHINING  black  in  the  shining  light, 
Inky  black  in  the  golden  sun, 
Graceful  as  the  swallow's  flight, 
Light  as  swallow,  winged  one, 
Swift  as  driven  hurricane — 

Double-sinewed  stretch  and  spring, 
Muffled  thud  of  flying  feet, 
See  the  black  dog  galloping, 
Hear  his  wild  foot-beat. 

See  him  lie  when  the  day  is  dead, 

Black  curves  curled  on  the  boarded  floor. 

Sleepy  eyes,  my  sleepy  head — 
Eyes  that  were  aflame  before. 
29 


Soldier  Poets 

Gentle  now,  they  burn  no  more ; 

Gentle  now  and  softly  warm, 
With  the  fire  that  made  them  bright 

Hidden — as  when  after  storm 

Softly  falls  the  night. 

God  of  Speed,  who  makes  the  fire — 

God  of  Peace,  who  lulls  the  same — 
God  who  gives  the  fierce  desire, 

Lust  for  blood  as  fierce  as  flame — 
God  who  stands  in  Pity's  name — 

Many  may  ye  be  or  less, 
Ye  who  rule  the  earth  and  sun  ; 

Gods  of  strength  and  gentleness, 

Ye  are  ever  one. 


The  Hills 

MUSSOORIE  and  Chakrata  Hill 
The  Jumna  flows  between  ; 
And  from  Chakrata's  hills  afar 

Mussoorie's  vale  is  seen. 
The  mountains  sing  together 
In  cloud  or  sunny  weather, 
The  Jumna,  through  their  tether 
Foams  white,  or  plunges  green. 
30 


Julian  Grenfell,  D.S.O. 

The  mountains  stand  and  laugh  at  Time  ; 

They  pillar  up  the  Earth, 
They  watch  the  ages  pass,  they  bring 

New  centuries  to  birth. 
They  feel  the  daybreak  shiver, 
They  see  Time  passing  ever 
As  flows  the  Jumna  river, 

As  breaks  the  white  sea-surf. 


They  drink  the  sun  in  a  golden  cup, 

And  in  blue  mist  the  rain  ; 
With  a  sudden  brightening  they  meet  the  lightning 

Or  ere  it  strikes  the  plain. 
They  seize  the  sullen  thunder, 
And  take  it  up  for  plunder, 
And  cast  it  down  and  under, 

And  up  and  back  again. 

They  are  as  changeless  as  the  rock, 

As  changeful  as  the  sea  ; 
They  rest,  but  as  a  lover  rests 

After  love's  ecstasy. 
They  watch,  as  a  true  lover 
Watches  the  quick  lights  hover 
About  the  lids  that  cover 

His  eyes  so  wearily. 


Soldier  Poets 

Heaven  lies  upon  their  breasts  at  night, 
Heaven  kisses  them  at  dawn  ; 

Heaven  clasps  and  kisses  them  at  even 
With  fire  of  the  sun's  death  born. 

They  turn  to  his  desire 

Their  bosom,  flushing  higher 

With  soft  receptive  fire, 
And  blushing,  passion-torn. 

Here,  in  the  hills  of  ages 

I  met  thee  face  to  face  ; 
O  mother  Earth,  O  lover  Earth, 

Look  down  on  me  with  grace. 
Give  me  thy  passion  burning, 
And  thy  strong  patience,  turning 
And  wrath  to  power,  all  yearning 

To  truth,  thy  dwelling-place. 


Hymn  to  the  Fighting  Boar 

GOD  gave  the  horse  for  man  to  ride, 
And  steel  wherewith  to  fight, 
And  wine  to  swell  his  soul  with  pride, 

And  women  for  delight : 
But  a  better  gift  than  these  all  four 
Was  when  He  made  the  fighting  boar. 
32 


Julian  Grenfell*  D.S.O. 

The  horse  is  filled  with  spirit  rare, 

His  heart  is  bold  and  free  ; 
The  bright  steel  flashes  in  the  air, 

And  glitters  hungrily. 
But  these  were  little  use  before 
The  Lord  He  made  the  fighting  boar. 

The  ruby  wine  doth  banish  care, 

But  it  confounds  the  head  ; 
The  fickle  fair  is  light  as  air, 

And  makes  the  heart  bleed  red  ; 
But  wine  nor  love  can  tempt  us  more 
When  we  may  hunt  the  fighting  boar. 

When  Noah's  big  monsoon  was  laid, 
The  land  began  to  ride  again, 

And  then  the  first  hog-spear  was  made 
By  the  hands  of  Tubal  Cain  ; 

The  sons  of  Shem  and  many  more 

Came  out  to  ride  the  fighting  boar. 

Those  ancient  Jew  boys  went  like  stinks, 
They  knew  not  reck  nor  fear, 

Old  Noah  knocked  the  first  two  jinks, 
And  Nimrod  got  the  spear. 

And  ever  since  those  times  of  yore 

True  men  do  ride  the  fighting  boar. 
33 


Soldier  Poets 

Drink  then  to  women  and  to  wine, 
Though  heart  and  head  they  steal — 

But  here's  to  steed  and  spear  and  swine 
A  brimming  glass,  no  heel, 

And  humble  thanks  to  God  Who  saw 

His  way  to  make  the  fighting  boar. 


To  the  Mussourie  Race  Club 

TO  win  a  race,  you  need  a  horse 
With  speed,  and  power  to  stay  the  course. 
The  horse  that  beats  the  other  skins 
And  finishes  the  winner,  wins — 
Not  so,  Sir,  at  Mussourie. 

I  had  the  devil  of  a  horse  ; 
I  won  ;  but  failed  to  scale,  of  course, 
Because  the  judges,  for  my  sins, 
Had  backed  the  second  horse  (which  wins, 
When  backed  by  all  Mussourie). 

A  horse  that  swings  athwart  the  course, 
A  horse  that  bumps  another  horse, 
Is  reprimanded  for  his  sins  ; 
And  he  that  finished  second,  wins — 
Not  so,  Sir,  at  Mussourie. 
34 


Julian  Grenfell,  D.S.O* 

Again  I  ran  my  speedy  horse  ; — 
A  native  jockey  comes  across, 
And  knocks  me  clean  from  off  my  pins, 
And  smiles,  and  gallops  on  and  wins 
The  "  Mountain  Plate  "  Mussourie. 


We  all  objected — but,  of  course, 
When  judges  back  the  winning  horse 
The  horse  that  finished  winner,  wins — 
And  that  is  when  the  fun  begins 
In  racing  at  Mussourie. 


[We  are  indebted  to  Lord  Desborough  for  the  use  of 
these  hitherto  imprinted  poems  by  his  son,  Captain  Julian 
Grenfell,  D.S.O.,  whose  "Into  Battle"  (published  in 
The  Times  on  May  2  8th,  1915 — the  day  his  death  from 
wounds  was  recorded — and  afterwards  included  in  Robert 
Bridges'  Anthology,  "  The  Spirit  of  Man,"  and  in  "  A 
Crown  of  Amaranth  ")  has  been  described  as  "  the  one 
incorruptible  and  incomparable  poem  which  the  war  has 
yet  given  us  in  any  language."  The  above  poems  were 
sent  home  while  on  service  in  India,  where  he  killed 
thirty-six  boars  in  one  season.  Both  achievements  are 
characteristic  of  the  fine  courageous  spirit  and  all-round 
activities  of  the  young  Dragoon  who  "  knocked  out  the 
champion  boxer  of  South  Africa  in  the  intervals  of 
writing  poetry."] 


35 


WILFRID   J.   HALLIDAY 
PRIVATE,  13™  BATTALION,  WEST  YORKS.  REGIMENT 

The  Grave 

THEY  dug  his  grave  by  lantern  light, 
A  nameless  German  boy  : 
A  remnant  from  that  hurried  flight, 
Lost,  wounded,  left  in  hapless  plight 

For  carrion  to  destroy. 
They  thought  him  dead  at  first  until 

They  felt  the  heart's  slow  beat : 
So  calm  he  lay,  serene  and  still, 
It  seemed  a  butchery  to  kill 

An  innocence  so  sweet. 

A  movement  of  his  lips,  maybe 

To  call  his  mother  there  : 
A  tear,  a  smile  of  victory — 
Then  easeful  death  proclaimed  him  free, 

Free  from  a  tyrant's  care. 

Somewhere  a  mother  droops  and  sighs 

For  tidings  long  delayed  : 
Somewhere  a  sister  mourns  and  cries 
For  him  who  in  that  cold  grave  lies, 

Dug  by  the  foeman's  spade. 
36 


Wilfrid  J.  Halliday 
The  Awakening 

OI  have  watched  God's  fairest  things 
And  heard  sweet  nature's  melody  ; 
Have  felt  the  thrill  that  Pity  brings 
And  sailed  in  tears  its  weed-strewn  sea. 
As  blithe  as  any  summer's  day 
I  leapt  for  joy  to  suck  the  sweet 
Of  sunshine,  dingle,  meadow'd  hay, 
And  all  the  treasures  at  my  feet. 

But  now  tho'  banished  far  from  these, 
In  grosser  places  turned  and  tossed, 
I  feel  a  purer,  nobler  ease, 
New  heather  ways  have  now  been  crossed. 
A  something  steals  upon  my  breast 
Whene'er  I  watch  night's  jewels  shine  : 
It  whispers  "  He  has  seen  the  test, 
And  thou  wast  faithful  — Joy  be  thine  !  " 

0  Pride  of  Pride  !  how  couldst  thou  see 
That  inner  ray  when  half  thy  gaze 
Was  fixed  on  self,  not  pure  and  free, 
But  dimly  peering  through  a  haze  ? 
And  then  I  threw  the  bonds  aside, 

For  thee,  My  Country,  call'd  to  fight. 
Forlorn,  forgotten,  self-defied, 

1  know  that  I  have  seen  the  light. 

37 


Soldier  Poets 
The  Red  Cross 

'  TV  /fIT)  the  might  of  battle's  roar 

JLVA  And  the  groans  of  maimed  and  dying; 

'Mid  the  welter  and  the  gore 

And  the  hiss  of  bullets  flying, 
Like  an  angel,  calm  and  brave 
Goes  the  Red  Cross  Knight  to  save. 

'Mid  the  deadly  shrapnel  hail 

And  the  sniper's  sullen  firing  ; 

'Mid  the  carnage  and  the  wail 

Of  the  stricken  and  expiring, 
Like  a  mother,  calm  and  brave 
Goes  the  Red  Cross  Knight  to  save. 

'Mid  the  sleet  and  driving  rain 

And  the  biting,  stinging  frost ; 

'Mid  the  mangled  and  the  slain 

And  the  terrors  of  the  lost, 
Like  a  hero,  calm  and  brave 
Goes  the  Red  Cross  Knight  to  save. 

What  of  him  do  writers  tell  ? 

What  reward  for  sacrifice  ? 

Nought  but  "  Truly  ye  did  well," 

And  in  that  his  guerdon  lies. 
But  the  wounded,  knowing,  crave 
For  your  love.     Go  forth  to  save. 
38 


"Wilfrid  J.  Halliday 

The  Gleam 

I  SEE,  I  feel,  I  sometimes  know 
And  penetrate  the  soul  of  things. 
I've  sipped  of  streams  that  sometimes  flow 
From  mystic,  unimagined  things. 

For  one  brief  moment  have  I  strayed 
In  pastures  clothed  in  sparkling  dew, 
And  fed  on  fruits  the  gods  have  laid 
Of  wondrous  taste  and  goodly  hue. 

Heaven  judge  my  soul  by  that  brief  bliss 

And  pity  me  that  I  am  lost 

So  oft  in  clay,  and  seem  to  miss 

The  path  that  beckoning  gleam  has  crossed. 


Today 

NO  longer  art,  but  artifice, 
No  unrefracted  ray  : 
No  streamings  from  the  infinite, 

No  rough,  inspired  way  : 
No  motive  selfless,  free  from  taint, 
But  "  will  it  pay  ?  " 
39 


Soldier  Poets 

The  charlatan  ascends  the  rock 
Where  prophets  stood  of  yore  ; 

The  shallow  cynic  dons  the  garb 
That  Trust  and  Honour  wore, 

And  viperous  scorn  stands  sentinel 
Beside  Truth's  half-shut  door. 

Say,  Spirit,  what  this  England  needs. 

Is  it  a  common  foe  ? 
Must  we  through  tears  be  led  to  smiles, 

To  happiness  through  woe  ? 
Shall  blood  of  slaughtered  sons  buy  grace  ? 

Then,  England,  let  it  flow. 


40 


j 


G.   ROUNTREE   HARVEY 

2/A.M.,  ROYAL  FLYING  CORPS 

The  Maid  of  France 

OAN  heard  a  Voice  above  the  whispering  trees : 
"  Arise,  scatter  mine  enemies !  " 


She  took  a  banner,  but  no  sword — 
Veterans  hung  on  her  lightest  word  ; 
And,  ah,  the  splendour  of  the  fight, 
Proud  victory  where  right  was  might !  .  .  . 

Alas !    that  ruling  frailty  could 

So  mar  and  betray  such  glorihood.  .  .  . 

Prisoned,  fettered  to  an  iron  ring, 
Her  spirit  knew  no  prisoning  ! 

They  burned  her  body  at  a  stake  of  shame — 
As  who  would  quench  a  flame  with  flame  ! 
But  out  of  the  pyre  men  watched  upsoar 
Her  grail-like  soul,  that  evermore 
Gleams  above  the  lily  meads — 
And  men  still  follow  where  she  leads.  .  .  . 


Soldier  Poets 

Across  her  fields  this  later  day 
A  blacker  tyrant  hacks  his  way  ; 
The  sons  of  France  are  forth  to  wage 
The  war  that  darkens  every  age — 
Might  against  Right — and  once  again 
God-sent  maid  leads  fighting  men. 


This  day  they  name  her— LIBEE 
God  grant  she'll  win  the  victory  ! 


her— LIBERTY 


Mother  of  Sons 

YOUR  hands  are  tired  with  their  long  day's 
labour, 

Toil-worn  hands  that  have  worked  with  a  will ; 
Must  they  know  no  rest  till  they  lie  forever 
In  the  last  firm  clasp,  so  white  and  still  ? 

Your  dark-rimmed  eyes  are  dim  with  weeping, 
Their  heavy  lids  are  fain  to  close — 

Must  they  know  more  sorrow  ere  the  last  mist  rising 
Heralds  the  hour  of  the  long  repose  ?  .  .  . 

Twilight  is  filling  the  valley  hollows, 

The  dew  is  falling,  the  wind  grows  cold — 

But  look,  on  the  height,  the  rose  of  promise 
With  crimson  petals  and  heart  of  gold  ! 

42 


GEOFFREY   HOWARD 

LIEUT.,    ROYAL  FUSILIERS 

The  Beach  Road  by  the  Wood 

I  KNOW  a  beach  road, 
A  road  where  I  would  go. 
It  runs  up  northward 

From  Cooden  Bay  to  Hoe  ; 
And  there,  in  the  High  Woods, 
Daffodils  grow. 


And  whoever  walks  along  there 

Stops  short  and  sees, 
By  the  moist  tree-roots 

In  a  clearing  of  the  trees, 
Yellow  great  battalions  of  them, 

Blowing  in  the  breeze. 

While  the  spring  sun  brightens, 

And  the  dull  sky  clears, 
They  blow  their  golden  trumpets, 

Those  golden  trumpeteers  ! 
They  blow  their  golden  trumpets 

And  they  shake  their  glancing  spears. 
43 


Soldier  Poets 

And  all  the  rocking  beech-trees 
Are  bright  with  buds  again, 

And  the  green  and  open  spaces 
Are  greener  after  rain, 

And  far  to  southward  one  can  hear 
The  sullen,  moaning  rain. 

Once  before  I  die 

I  will  leave  the  town  behind, 
The  loud  town,  the  dark  town 

That  cramps  and  chills  the  mind, 
And  I'll  stand  again  bareheaded  there 

In  the  sunlight  and  the  wind. 

Yes,  I  shall  stand 

Where  as  a  boy  I  stood 
Above  the  dykes  and  levels 

In  the  beach  road  by  the  wood, 
And  I'll  smell  again  the  sea  breeze, 

Salt  and  harsh  and  good. 

And  there  shall  rise  to  me 

From  that  consecrated  ground 
The  old  dreams,  the  lost  dreams 

That  years  and  cares  have  drowned 
Welling  up  within  me 

And  above  me  and  around 
The  song  that  I  could  never  sing 

And  the  face  I  never  found. 
44 


Geoffrey  Howard 


Without  Shedding  of  Blood  .  .  ." 

GOD  gave  us  England  from  of  old, 
But  we  held  light  the  gift  He  gave  ; 
Our  royal  birthright  we  have  sold, 
And  now  the  land  we  lost  for  gold 
Only  our  blood  can  save. 

Not  till  thousands  have  been  slain 
Shall  the  green  wood  be  green  again  ; 
Not  till  men  shall  fall  and  bleed 
Can  brown  ale  taste  like  ale  indeed. 
Blood  and  blood  must  yet  be  shed 
To  make  the  roses  red. 

For  minds  made  vile,  and  blind  with  greed, 
For  sins  that  spread  from  sire  to  son  ; 
For  loss  of  honour,  loss  of  creed, 
There  yet  remains  one  cure  indeed — 
And  there  remains  but  one. 

Malvern  men  must  die  and  kill 
That  wind  may  blow  on  Malvern  Hill  ; 
Devonshire  blood  must  fall  like  dew 
That  Devon's  bays  may  yet  be  blue  ; 
London  must  spill  out  lives  like  wine 
That  London's  lights  may  shine. 
45 


Soldier  Poets 

Lord,  for  the  years  of  ease  and  vice, 
For  hearts  unmanned  and  souls  decayed, 
Thou  hast  required  a  sacrifice — 
A  bitter  and  a  bloody  price — 
And  lo  !  the  price  is  paid. 


We  have  given  all  things  that  were  ours, 
So  that  our  weeds  might  yet  be  flowers  ; 
We  have  covered  half  the  earth  with  gore 
That  our  bouses  might  be  homes  once  more 
The  sword  Thou  hast  demanded,  Lord  : 
And,  now,  behold  the  sword  I 


England 

HER  seed  is  sown  about  the  world.     The  seas 
For  Her  have  path'd  their  waters.     She  is 
known 

In  swamps  that  steam  about  the  burning  zone, 
And  dreaded  in  the  last  white  lands  that  freeze. 
For  Her  the  glory  that  was  Nineveh's 
Is  nought :  the  pomp  of  Tyre  and  Babylon 
Nought :   and  for  all  the  realms  that  Caesar  won — 
One  tithe  of  hers  were  more  than  all  of  these. 
46 


Geoffrey  Howard 

And  she  is  very  small  and  very  green 
And  full  of  little  lanes  all  dense  with  flowers 
That  wind  along  and  lose  themselves  between 
Mossed  farms,  and  parks,  and  fields  of  quiet  sheep. 
And  in  the  hamlets,  where  her  stalwarts  sleep, 
Low  bells  chime  out  from  old  elm-hidden  towers. 


47 


MALCOLM   HUMPHREY 

LANCE-CORPORAL,  A.O.C.   (B.E.F.,  NAIROBI,   BRITISH 
EAST  AFRICA) 

Hills  of  Home 

OH  !  you  hills  are  filled  with  sunlight,  and  the 
green  leaves  paled  to  gold, 
And  the  smoking  mists  of  Autumn  hanging  faintly 

o'er  the  wold ; 
I  dream  of  hills  of  other  days  whose  sides  I  loved  to 

roam 

When  Spring  was  dancing  through  the  lanes  of 
those  distant  hills  of  home. 


The  winds  of  heaven  gathered  there  as  pure  and 

cold  as  dew ; 
Wood-sorrel  and  wild  violets  along  the  hedgerows 

grew, 
The  blossom  on  the  pear-trees  was  as  white  as  flakes 

of  foam 
In  the  orchard  'neath  the  shadow  of  those  distant 

hills  of  home. 

48 


Malcolm  Humphrey 

The  first  white  frost  in  the  meadow  will  be  shining 

there  to-day, 
And  the  furrowed  upland  glinting  warm  beside  the 

woodland  way  ; 
There,   a  bright  face  and  a  clear  hearth  will  be 

waiting  when  I  come, 
And  my  heart  is  throbbing  wildly  for  those  distant 

hills  of  home. 


49 


DYNELEY   HUSSEY 

LIEUT.,  I3TH  BATTALION,  LANCASHIRE  FUSILIERS 

Youth 

O  LITTLE  flower, 
That  yet  dost  not  disclose 

The  secrets  which  thy  closed  bud  scarce  knows, 
I  blow  upon  thy  petals  that  thine  hour 
Be  hastened,  the  awakening  to  thy  power. 

Short  is  the  time, 

O  flower,  and  full  of  storms ; 

The  summer  sky  is  dark  with  warlike  forms 

Of  battling  rains,  and  thunder-clouds  that  climb 

Laden  with  danger  up  the  blue  sublime. 

The  night-born  dew 

Shall,  on  thy  lip,  be  wine  ; 

The  worship  of  the  wide  stars  shall  be  thine  ; 

And  the  vast,  mottled  Heaven  to  thy  view 

Shall  spread  its  cloak  of  cloud  and  changeless  blue  ; 

And  thou  shalt  hear 

Of  birds  sweet  poetry, 

And  deep-droned  wisdom  from  the  noonday  bee  ; 

And  gaudy  butterflies  shall  flutter  near 

To  whisper  gallant  secrets  in  thine  ear. 


Dyneley  Hussey 

Therefore  awake, 

Throw  out  thy  white  arms  wide 

To  clasp  unto  thyself  in  joyous  pride 

The  sun's  warm  husbandry,  and  gladly  take 

Thy  full  of  life,  before  the  dark  storms  break. 


Security 

"  I  will  lift  up  mine  eyes  unto  the  hills." 

THE  smooth  and  rounded  rhythm  of  the  hills ; 
The  rugged  rhyme  of  mountains ;  the  strong 
flow 
Of  the  epic  river,  sweeping  where  it  wills  ; 

The  brook's  light  lyric  straying  to  and  fro  ; 
All  the  clean  scents  of  flower  and  farm  and  earth 

Wet  with  the  downpour  of  straight  summer  rain  ; 
Day's  flaming  death,  cool  Dawn's  more  tender  birth, 

And  Noon's  unchanging  blue  ;  and  in  the  lane 
Tall  foxgloves,  roses,  and  the  singing  birds ; 

The  whispered  music  of  the  riverside  ; 
The  pleasant  milky  smell  of  evening  herds  ; 
And,  over  all,  the  jade  hills  windy,  wide  : 
These  will  I  seek,  that  they  may  shed  on  me 
The  peacefulness  of  their  security. 


Soldier  Poets 

Courage 

AL.ONE  amid  the  battle-din  untouched 
Stands  out  one  figure  beautiful,  serene  ; 
No  grime  of  smoke  nor  reeking  blood  hath  smutched 

The  virgin  brow  of  this  unconquered  queen. 
She  is  the  Joy  of  Courage  vanquishing 

The  unstilled  tremors  of  the  fearful  heart ; 
And  it  is  she  that  bids  the  poet  sing, 

And  gives  to  each  the  strength  to  bear  his  part. 

Her  eye  shall  not  be  dimmed,  but  as  a  flame 

Shall  light  the  distant  ages  with  its  fire, 

That  men  may  know  the  glory  of  her  name, 

That  purified  our  souls  of  fear's  desire. 

And  she  doth  calm  our  sorrow,  soothe  our  pain, 
And  she  shall  lead  us  back  to  peace  again. 


The  Dead 

AS,  when  the  viols  of  autumn  deeply  sob, 
JL\.  And  from  the  trees  are  reft  the  withered  leaves 
Ensanguined  with  the  life-blood  of  the  year, 
That  they  with  outstretched,  barren  arms  bewail, 

The  gardener  brushes  up  the  leaves  ; 
So,  when  from  England's  tree  of  life  are  reft 
52 


Dyneley  Hussey 

Dust-hued  and  bloody  your  autumnal  lives 
That  shrivel  blasted  by  the  breath  of  War, 
And  the  bereaved  tree  sad  music  weaves, 
The  Gardener  gathers  up  your  lives. 

Those  dead  leaves  waken  in  the  weary  earth, 
Making  the  barren  warm  and  rich  with  life, 

And  give  to  nobler  flowers  a  glorious  birth  ; 

And  your  dead  lives  are  dead  alone  in  name, 
For  you  shall  live  anew  after  the  strife, 

And  light  in  future  hearts  a  sacred  flame. 

Joy 

JOY  has  been  ours  a  little,  Joy  divine  ; 
Joy  filling  all  things,  mastering  our  hearts ; 
Joy  as  intoxication  of  red  wine  ; 

Joy  leaping  o'er  the  breach  when  Love  departs. 
Ah  !  we  were  wild  with  this  glad  ecstasy, 

And  danced,  and  danced  delirious  in  dreams, 
Through  the  dim-gleaming  Gate  of  Ivory, 

Out  of  the  World  that  Is  to  that  which  Seems. 
And  we  did  laugh  in  this  great  Joy  of  ours, 
And  all  the  world  re-echoed  to  our  cry. 
And  Time  was  nothing;  days  were  short-lived  hours, 
And  we  Immortal  as  the  days  went  by. 

For  Joy,  O  Love,  had  made  my  heart  a  feather  : 
O  I  am  glad  we've  known  this  Joy  together  ! 
53 


Soldier  Poets 

Mirage 

A  POET  once  in  dreaming  fashioned 
A  woman  to  his  fancy  :  Thus,  he  said, 
Shall  I  find  freedom  from  the  tyranny 
Of  earth  and  dreary  actuality. 

The  golden  beams  that  radiate  the  skies 

Between  the  clouds  he  caught,  and  spun  her  hair  ; 
Of  marble  whiteness  made  her  forehead  wise, 

And  wrought  her  brows  soft  as  the  summer  air ; 
For  eyes  he  took  two  violets  dim  with  dew 

That  veiled  their  glory  ;  from  a  new-blown  rose 
Two  velvet  petals  for  her  cheeks,  and  two 

Red  corals  sought  in  distant  seas  he  chose 
To  be  the  lips  he  longed  for,  and  between 

He  set  the  wood-grown  windflower's  pearly  tears; 
Then  from  a  shell  he  cut  the  inner  sheen 

And  polished  it  and  shaped  it  for  her  ears 
To  listen  to  the  sea-throb  of  his  sighs ; 

And  in  her  glance  he  deftly  wove  fine  strands 
Of  filmy  starshine  robbed  from  summer  skies ; 

A  lily's  pointed  petals  were  her  hands 
Tipped  each  with  moonstones ;   last  he  made  her 
heart, 

Of  snowflakes  fashioned  and  forget-me-not, 
And  steeped  it  in  red  wine  to  bear  its  part : 

Thus  wrought  his  fancy — but  he  found  her  not. 
54 


E.   HARDRESS   LLOYD 
LIEUT.,   LONDON  IRISH  RIFLES 

FULL  of  the  tumult  of  its  triumph, 
Its  vaulted  silences  a  frenzied  shriek 
Of  mirthless  laughter, 
Is  my  Soul. 

Like  some  strong  swimmer  from  the  deep, 

Dripping  water, 

Is  my  Spirit, 

From  its  bath  of  Earthly  Love  emerging. 

Like  a  lone  musician  with  his  harp  strings  broken, 
Viewing  the  void  to  which  his  melody  has  fled, 
Like  some  weary  Poet  struggling  with  expression, 
So  is  my  withered  heart,  my  burning  head. 


55 


JOHN  LODGE 

LIEUT.,   STH   BATTALION,    BEDFORDSHIRE 
REGIMENT  (B.E.F.) 

God  and  the  Child 

THE  blessing  of  all  blessings  did  attend 
The  marriage  of  my  friend, 
And  gave  him,  to  his  comfort  and  his  joy, 
A  baby  boy  ; 
To  whom,  as  day  by  day 
The  growing  mind  took  strength  and  spread  its 

wings 

In  search  of  many  things, 
The  father  would  display 
Nothing  that  was  not  true  and  pure  and  fair, 
Withholding  whatsoe'er, 
Being  born  of  ugliness  and  pain, 
Turns  to  its  own  again. 
So  for  the  child  was  every  season  bright 
And  made  for  his  delight  ; 
No  fear  he  knew  of  anger  and  the  rod, 
But,  led  by  love  and  gentleness  and  care, 
Found  gifts  of  goodness  everywhere 
And  babbled  of  the  giver,  even  God. 
56 


John  Lodge 

And  so  it  came  to  pass 

That,  having  lately  come  to  his  fifth  year, 

One  evening  he  was  playing  on  the  grass, 

Bestriding  his  toy  engine,  not  less  dear 

For  being  old  and  quaint, 

Batter'd  and  wooden  and  devoid  of  paint ; 

And  by  it  stood  a  Chinaman  of  tin, 

His  wagging  head  now  still, 

Perchance  because  the  trumpet  at  his  side 

Awhile  had  ceas'd  to  fill 

His  ears  with  din  ; 

And  happy  in  his  playthings  was  the  child. 

But  suddenly  his  brown  eyes  open'd  wide 

And  he  no  longer  smil'd 

But  in  a  pensive  posture  held  his  head, 

As  tho'  the  fastness  of  his  young  content 

Had  been  assail'd  by  doubt  and  wonderment 

And  threaten'd  were  his  joys : 

Until  at  last  he  slowly  spake  and  said — 

"  Daddy,  has  God  got  any  toys  ?  " 

On  Zeppelin  Picquet : 

Christmas  Eve*  1916 

CHRISTMAS  EVE— and  we  stared  at  the  sky 
\^4  Where  the  clouds  and  the  stars  went  galloping  by, 
And  strict  was  the  watch  we  kept  for  the  flight 
Of  the  death-dealing  terror  that  flieth  by  night. 
57 


Soldier  Poets 

Christmas  Eve — and  we  watch'd  till  the  morn 
Should  rise  and  repeat  how  a  Babe  was  born  ; 
And  our  hearts  within  us  were  sad  as  we  scann'd 
The  stars  that  spake  not  of  Peace  for  our  land. 

Christmas  Eve — and  oh,  to  espy, 

Like  Bethlehem's  shepherds,  the  hosts  of  the  sky, 

Their  voices  blent  in  rapturous  mirth — 

"  Glory  to  God  and  Peace  upon  Earth  !  " 

Christmas  Eve — but  set  was  the  star 
That  guided  the  kings  from  regions  afar — 
Oh,  soon  may  it  rise  and  lead  us  again 
Where  One  doth  in  peace  and  equity  reign, 


To  Our  Child  Unborn 

NO  offspring  art  thou  of  a  dreamer's  rhyme  ; 
But  when  my  thought  and  hers,  immaculate, 
Conceiv'd  thee  thou  didst  leap,  full-grown,  elate, 
Over  the  high-embattled  walls  of  Time, 
To  watch  our  ways  from  some  invisible  clime, 
Where,  holding  yet  celestial  estate, 
In  quietude  thou  dost  the  call  await 
To  disarray  thee^of  thy  gear  sublime. 
58 


John  Lodge 

Then  hither  shalt  them  wing  thy  lonely  flight 
And  put  upon  thee  robes  of  mortal  mesh 
Laid  up  against  the  season  of  thy  birth — 
And  oh,  I  pray  that  undefil'd  and  bright 
The  warp  and  woof  may  be  of  that  fair  flesh 
Wherewith  endued  thou  shalt  appear  on  earth. 


59 


"EDWARD   MELBOURNE" 

(W.  N.  HODGSON,  M.C.) 
LIEUT.,  DEVON  REGIMENT 

Killed  in  the  Somme  Advance,  July,  1916 

Durham 

ABOVE  the  storied  city,  ringed  about 
-/jL  With  shining  waters,  stands  God's  ancient  house 
Over  the  windy  uplands  gazing  out 
Towards  the  sea  ;   and  deep  about  it  drowse 
The  grey  dreams  of  the  buried  centuries, 
And  thro'  all  time  across  the  rustling  weirs 
The  ancient  river  passes, — thus  it  lies 
Exceeding  wise  and  strong  and  full  of  years. 

Often  within  those  dreaming  isles  we  heard, 
Breaking  the  level  flow  of  sombre  chords, 
A  trumpet-call  of  melody  that  stirred 
The  blood  and  pierced  the  heart  like  flaming  swords. 
Long  years  we  learned  and  grew,  and  in  this  place 
Put  on  the  harness  of  our  manhood's  state, 
And  then  with  fearless  heart  and  forward  face 
Went  strongly  forth  to  try  a  fall  with  fate  : 
And  so  we  passed,  and  others  had  our  place. 
But  well  we  know  that  here  till  days  shall  cease, 
While  the  great  stream  goes  seaward  and  trees  bloom, 
God's  kindness  dwells  about  these  courts  of  peace. 
60 


*  Edward  Melbourne** 

Before  Action 

BY  all  the  glories  of  the  day, 
And  the  cool  evening's  benison  : 
By  the  last  sunset  touch  that  lay 
Upon  the  hills  when  day  was  done  : 
By  beauty  lavishly  outpoured, 
And  blessings  carelessly  received, 
By  all  the  days  that  I  have  lived, 
Make  me  a  soldier,  Lord. 

By  all  of  all  men's  hopes  and  fears, 
And  all  the  wonders  poets  sing, 
The  laughter  of  unclouded  years, 
And  every  sad  and  lovely  thing  : 
By  the  romantic  ages  stored 
With  high  endeavour  that  was  his, 
By  all  his  mad  catastrophes, 
Make  me  a  man,  O  Lord. 

I,  that  on  my  familiar  hill 
Saw  with  uncomprehending  eyes 
A  hundred  of  Thy  sunsets  spill 
Their  fresh  and  sanguine  sacrifice, 
Ere  the  sun  swings  his  noonday  sword 
Must  say  good-bye  to  all  of  this  : — 
By  all  delights  that  I  shall  miss, 
Help  me  to  die,  O  Lord. 
61 


Soldier  Poets 

Back  to  Rest 

(Composed  on  the  way  back  to  the  Rest  Camp  after 
severe  fighting  at  Loos.) 

A  LEAPING  wind  from  England, 
The  skies  without  a  stain, 
Clear  cut  against  the  morning 

Slim  poplars  after  rain, 
The  foolish  noise  of  sparrows 
And  starlings  in  a  wood — 
After  the  grime  of  battle 

We  know  that  these  are  good. 

Death  whining  down  from  Heaven, 

Death  roaring  from  the  ground, 
Death  stinking  in  the  nostril, 

Death  shrill  in  every  sound  : 
Doubting  we  charged  and  conquered — 

Hopeless  we  struck  and  stood, 
Now  when  the  fight  is  ended 

We  know  that  it  was  good. 

We  that  have  seen  the  strongest 

Cry  like  a  beaten  child, 
The  sanest  eyes  unholy, 

The  cleanest  hands  defiled ; 
We  that  have  known  the  heart  blood 

Less  than  the  lees  of  wine, 
We  that  have  seen  men  broken, 

We  know  man  is  divine. 
62 


GEORGE  C.  MICHAEL 

LANCE-CORPORAL,  R.E. 

An  April  Song* 

ORCHARD  land  !   Orchard  land  ! 
Damson  blossom,  primrose  bloom  : 
Avon,  like  a  silver  band 

Winds  from  Stratford  down  to  Broome 
All  the  orchards  shimmer  white 
For  an  April  day's  delight : 
We  have  risen  in  our  might, 
Left  this  land  we  love,  to  fight, 
Fighting  still,  that  these  may  stand, 
Orchard  land  !     Orchard  land  ! 

Running  stream  !   Running  stream  ! 
Ruddy  tench  and  silver  perch  : 

Shakespeare  loved  the  waterVgleam 
Sparkling  on  by  Welford  church  : 
Water  fay  meets  woodland  gnome 
Where  the  silver  eddies  foam 
Thro'  the  richly  scented  loam  : 
We  are  fain  to  see  our  home, 

See  again  thy  silver  gleam, 

Running  stream  !     Running  stream  ! 

*  Written  on  leave~at  Stratfcrd-on-Avon. 
63 


Soldier  Poets 

Silver  throats !     Silver  throats ! 

Piping  blackbird,  trilling  thrush  : 
Shakespeare  heard  your  merry  notes ; 
Still  you  herald  morning's  blush  : 
You  shall  sing  your  anthems  grand 
When  we've  finished  what  He  planned, 
God  will  hear  and  understand, 
God  will  give  us  back  our  land 
Where  the  \vater-lily  floats, 
Silver  throats  !     Silver  throats  ! 


64 


THE   HON.   EVAN   MORGAN 
2ND  LIEUT.,  WELSH  GUARDS 

What  of  the  Dead  ? 

IF  in  the  repose  of  an  arbour 
Under  a  western  sky 
One  dreams  of  a  vast  eternal 
And  one  questions  the  reason  why  ; 
Why  joy  should  dissolve  into  sorrow, 
Why  pearls  should  melt  in  the  wine, 
And  whether  the  new  dawning  morrow 
Will  reckon  the  close  of  our  time  ? 
If  in  the  repose  of  the  arbour 
One  gazes  on  nature  around, 
Is  there  some  definite  answer 
In  the  earth  or  the  sky  to  be  found  ? 
Are  we  the  pawns  of  a  Jevah 
That  move  on  a  cross-chequered  board  ? 
Propelled  from  the  back  by  a  lever, 
Controlled,  supervised  by  a  Lord  ? 
Given  a  pen  as  a  plaything 
To  scribble  out  poems  and  plays — 
Works  that  we  worship  with  reverence, 
The  blossoms  of  earlier  days — 
Given  a  spirit  of  reason, 
Given  a  mind  to  attend, 
E  65 


Soldier  Poets 

Given  a  soul  filled  with  treason 

To  embitter  and  poison  the  end  ? 

Is  there  a  peaceful  Nirvana  ? 

Is  there  a  rest  for  the  soul  ? 

A  bed  for  the  toil-driven  Karma, 

A  telos  ?  a  Heaven  ?  a  goal  ? 

What  of  the  slain  in  the  battle  ? 

What  of  the  dead  on  the  field  ? 

Foul  slaughtered  like  horses  and  cattle, 

Those  men  that  we  use  as  a  shield  : 

If  ever  a  soul  got  to  Heaven ! 

If  ever  soul  reaped  a  reward  ! 

Those  whose  red  blood  has  been  given 

A  gift  to  their  own  native  sward : 

Those  are  the  ones  for  a  Heaven, 

For  a  peace  and  a  pleasure  unknown, 

By  their  work  are  they  all  self-forgiven, 

Let  their  blood  for  His  Blood  atone. 

The  World's  Reward 
To  N*  S«,  1st  Coldstream  Guards 

UNDER  what  melancholy  thought 
Laboured  we  long  ! 
Setting  all  joy  at  nought, 
We  joined  the  throng 
Of  striving  wretches,  battered  by  despair, 
With  bursting  eye-balls,  blood-bespattered  hair. 
66 


The  Hon.  Evan  Morgan 

Onward  we  trudge,  a  hostile  herd, 

On  through  our  night ; 
God's  creatures  less  than  beast  or  bird  ; 

A  bloody  sight. 

Slaves  to  our  own  decree,  burnt  through  of  fires, 
Doubting  our  Maker's  love,  or  His  desires. 

Thus  through  unending  pain 

We  go  to  death, 
Hoping  by  Death  to  gain 

A  happier  breath ; 

Trusting  for  once,  whatever  we  had  doubted, 
That  Death  himself  to  us,  of  victory  now  shouted. 

Fed  with  the  failing  of  our  life, 

Moistened  with  gall, 
We  seek  for  peace  in  battle  strife, 

Food  for  us  all ; 

So  in  our  fellows'  blood  our  hands  we  steep, 
Trusting  that  good  will  come,  when  laid  to  sleep. 

Great  God,  with  tending  hand 

Watch  o'er  our  souls, 
Speeding  from  Mammon's  land 

To  other  goals. 

And  when  the  battlefield  gives  up  her  dead, 
Let  each  on  angel's  breast  lay  down  his  head. 


67 


SYDNEY   OSWALD 

MAJOR,  KING'S  ROYAL  RIFLE  CORPS 

The  Dead  Soldier 

THY  dear  brown  eyes  which  were  as  depths 
where  truth 

Lay  bowered  with  frolic  joy,  but  yesterday 
Shone  with  the  fire  of  thy  so  guileless  youth, 

Now  ruthless  death  has  dimmed  and  closed  for  aye. 

Those  sweet  red  lips,  that  never  knew  the  stain 
Of  angry  words  or  harsh,  or  thoughts  unclean, 

Have  sung  their  last  gay  song.     Never  again 
Shall  I  the  harvest  of  their  laughter  glean. 

The  goodly  harvest  of  thy  laughing  mouth 
Is  garnered  in  ;  and  lo  !   the  golden  grain 

Of  all  thy  generous  thoughts,  which  knew  no  drouth 
Of  meanness,  and  thy  tender  words  remain 

Stored  in  my  heart ;  and  though  I  may  not  see 
Thy  peerless  form  nor  hear  thy  voice  again, 
The  memory  lives  of  what  thou  wast  to  me. 

We  knew  great  love.  .  .  .  We  have  not  lived  in 
vain. 

68 


Sydney  Oswald 


Dulce  et  Decorum  est  pro  Patria  Mori 

On  April  25th,  1915,  three  companies  and  the  head-quarters  of 
the  1st  Battalion  Lancashire  Fusiliers,  in  effecting  a  landing  on  the 
Gall i poll  Peninsula  to  the  west  of  Cape  Helles,  were  met  by  a  very 
deadly  fire  from  hidden  machine-guns,  which  caused  a  great  number 
of  casualties.  The  survivors,  however,  rushed  up  to  cut  the  wire 
entanglements,  notwithstanding  the  terrific  fire  from  the  enemy  ; 
and,  after  overcoming  supreme  difficulties,  the  cliffs  were  gained 
and  the  position  maintained. 

Among  the  many  very  gallant  officers  and  men  engaged  in  this 
most  hazardous  undertaking,  Major  R.  R.  Willis,  Sergeant  Richards, 
and  Private  Keneally  were  selected  by  their  comrades  as  having 
performed  the  most  signal  acts  of  bravery  and  devotion  to  duty, 
and  have  been  awarded  the  V.C. 

THEY  gave  their  lives  for  England  :    did  not 
pause 

To  count  the  glorious  cost,  when  England  bade 
Her  sons  to  strive  in  Freedom's  holy  cause, 

But  armed  to  fight.     Full  soon  they  died,  yet 

made 
A  name  of  lasting  glory  ;  gained  applause 

From  all  the  brave  ;   a  fame  which  cannot  fade. 

We  will  not  grieve  for  them,  though  when  they  fell 
All  joy  seemed  drowned  in  sorrow's  seething  tide, 

No  hope  remained  in  Heaven,  or  Earth,  or  Hell, 
And  naught  was  left,  save  only  that  great  pride 

We  feel  in  those  brave  deeds  their  comrades  tell 
Of  them.     Heroes  amongst  the  brave  they  died. 
^69 


Soldier  Poets 

'Neath  foreign  soil  the  soldier  heroes  lie 
In  lonely  graves.     No  record  raised  above 

To  tell  their  names  or  deeds ;  to  dignify 

War's  resting-place,  save  where  with  hands  of  love 

Some  comrade  placed  a  cross  to  testify 

His  dead  friends'  worth  ;    how  manfully  they 
strove. 

Glory  is  theirs  ;  the  People's  narrative 
Of  fame  will  tell  their  deeds  of  gallantry, 

And  for  all  time  their  memories  will  live 

Shrined  in  our  hearts.    Now  by  our  King's  decree 

As  lasting  honour,  lo  !   their  comrades  give 
The  cross  "FOR  VALOUR"   to  the  chosen 
Three. 


The  Attack 

THE  cold  grey  light  of  dawn  yet  hardly  shows 
The     piles     of     tattered     sandbags     which 
surround 

Our  narrow  trench,  where  we  beneath  the  ground 
Wait  with  the  longing  every  soldier  knows 
To  reap  the  harvest  which  the  gunner  sows 

Amongst  the  Huns.  Ah!  sweet  the  whistling  sound 
Of  shells  o'erhead  ;  next  silence  most  profound  ; 
Then  the  wild  rush,  the  quick  exchange  of  blows, 
70 


Sydney  Oswald 

The  raging  curses,  and  the  strange  mad  lust 

Of  slaughter,  all  we  know  ;   and  how  the  breath 

Sobs  out  in  troublous  gasps ;   and  with  each  thrust 
The  bayonet  claims  a  bloody  gift  for  death. 

And  in  the  end  what  guerdon  shall  we  reap  ? 

To  tend  the  wounded,  for  the  dead  to  weep  ? 


The  Aftermath 

NOT  yet  the  end  of  toil.    The  trench  is  won. 
Though    short    and    splendid    was    the 
bloody  fight 
With  steel  and  bomb,  and  though  the  Huns  in 

flight 

Slunk  swifter  through  the  dark  than  does  the  sun, 
We  cannot  rest,  our  work  is  scarce  begun  ; 

We  must  make  good  the  trench,  ere  morning  light 
The  Huns  will  come  again  in  greater  might. 
No  end  to  toil,  no  rest  for  anyone. 

Thrice  lucky  we,  who  live  to  fight  again, 

For  Death  was  busy  'mongst  the  young  and  brave, 
Yet  lucky  they  who  wait  a  soldier's  grave, 
For  some  blind  Death  has  made  the  guests  of  Pain 
To  tend  awhile.     Would  Death  had  swiftly  ta'en 
The  fair  young  lives  he  had  no  mind  to  save  ! 


Soldier  Poets 


The  Battlefield 

ROUND  no  fire  the  soldiers  sleep  to-night, 

But  lie  a-wearied  on  the  ice-bound  field, 
With  cloaks  wrapt  round  their  sleeping  forms,  to 

shield 
Them  from  the  northern  winds.     Ere  comes  the 

light 

Of  morn  brave  men  must  arm,  stern  foes  to  fight. 
The  sentry  stands  his  limbs  with  cold  congealed  ; 
His  head  a-nod  with  sleep  ;  he  cannot  yield, 
Though  sleep  and  snow  in  deadly  force  unite. 

Amongst  the  sleepers  lies  the  Boy  awake, 

And  wide-eyed  plans  brave  glories  that  transcend 

The  deeds  of  heroes  dead  ;  then  dreams  o'ertake 

His  tired-out  brain,  and  lofty  fancies  blend 

To  one  grand  theme,  and  through  all  barriers  break 

To  guard  from  hurt  his  faithful  sleeping  friend. 


72 


A.    VICTOR   RATCLIFFE 
LIEUT.,   IO/I3TH   WEST  YORKSHIRE   REGIMENT 

At  Sundown 

THE  day  put  by  his  valiant  shield, 
And  cast  him  down. 
His  broken  sword  lay  o'er  a  field 
Of  barley  brown 

And  his  bright  sceptre  and  his  crown 
Were  sunken  in  the  river's  heart. 


His  native  tent  of  blue  and  gold 

Was  gathered  in. 

I  saw  his  torn  flags  o'er  the  wold  ; 

And  on  the  whin 

High  silence  lit,  and  her  near  kin 

Fair  twilight  spread  her  firefly  wings. 

The  birds  like  secret  thoughts  lay  still 

Beneath  the  hush 

That  held  the  sky  and  the  long  hill 

And  every  bush. 

And  floated  o'er  the  river's  rush 

And  held  the  windlets  in  her  hand. 

73 


Soldier  Poets 
Into  the  Night 

INTO  the  night  we  slip  once  more, 
Into  the  night  to  sleep. 
And  call  upon  our  soothed  brain 
To  give  us  to  ourselves  again 
Beatified  and  lithe  of  limb, 
To  break  from  the  sad  world,  and  leap 
Into  the  day  beyond  the  rim 
Of  the  world's  darkness,  and  to  be 
From  dross  and  sorrow  free. 

To  rove  a  mountain  diamonded, 
And  see  a  mother-o'-pearl 
Clouding  trail  along  the  sky, 
To  see  a  silver  stork  go  by 
On  stately  wing,  and  carrying 
A  beautiful  white  lissom  girl, 
Soul's  Innocence,  whose  sapphire  ring 
Shines  with  her  tender  sapphire  eyes 
Among  the  bluey  skies. 

To  sail  upon  a  silvery  sea 
Upon  a  silver  ship, 
And  hear  the  siren's  softest  song 
Come  wafted  the  moon's  path  along — 
Like  to  your  breath  upon  my  cheek 
74 


A.  Victor  Ratcliffe 

Or  a  smile  from  lip  to  lip — 

To  love  one  friend  with  whom  to  speak 

Of  lovely,  joyful  things,  and  be 

At  peace  with  the  wide  sea. 


Optimism 

An  last  there'll  dawn  the  last  of  the  long  year, 
Of  the  long  year  that  seemed  to  dream  no  end, 
Whose  every  dawn  but  turned  the  world  more  drear, 
And  slew  some  hope,  or  led  away  some  friend. 
Or  be  you  dark,  or  buffeting,  or  blind, 
We  care  not,  day,  but  leave  not  death  behind. 

The  hours  that  feed  on  war  go  heavy-hearted, 
Death  is  no  fare  wherewith  to  make  hearts  fain. 
Oh,  we  are  sick  to  find  that  they  who  started 
With  glamour  in  their  eyes  come  not  again. 
O  day,  be  long  and  heavy  if  you  will, 
But  on  our  hopes  set  not  a  bitter  heel. 

For  tiny  hopes  like  tiny  flowers  of  Spring 
Will  come,  though  death  and  ruin  hold  the  land, 
Though  storms  may  roar  they  may  not  break  the  wing 
Of  the  earthed  lark  whose  song  is  ever  bland. 
Fell  year  unpitiful,  slow  days  of  scorn, 
Your  kind  shall  die,  and  sweeter  days  be  born. 
75 


ALEXANDER    ROBERTSON 

CORPORAL,   IZTH  YORK  AND  LANCASTERS 

44  We  shall  drink  to  them  that  sleep  " 

(CAMPBELL) 

YES,  you  will  do  it,  silently  of  course  ; 
For  after  many  a  toast  and  much  applause, 
One  is  in  love  with  silence,  being  hoarse, 
— Such  more  than  sorrow  is  your  quiet's  cause. 

Yes,  I  can  see  you  at  it,  in  a  room 

Well-lit  and  warm,  high-roofed  and  soft  to  the  tread, 

Satiate  and  briefly  mindful  of  the  tomb 

With  its  poor  victim  of  Teutonic  lead. 

Some  unknown  notability  will  rise, 
Ridiculously  solemn,  glass  abrim, 
And  say,  "  To  our  dear  brethren  in  the  skies," — 
Dim  are  all  eyes,  all  glasses  still  more  dim. 

Your  pledge  of  sorrow  but  a  cup  to  cheer, 
Your  sole  remark  some  witless  platitude, 
Such  as,  "  Although  it  does  not  yet  appear, 
To  suffer  is  the  sole  beatitude. 
76 


Alexander  Robertson 

"  Life  has,  of  course,  good  moments  such  as  this 
(A  glass  of  sherry  we  should  never  spurn), 
But  where  our  brethren  are,  'tis  perfect  bliss  ; 
Still,  we  are  glad  our  lot  was, — to  return." 

Yes,  I  can  see  you  and  can  see  the  dead, 
Keen-eyed  at  last  for  Truth,  with  gentle  mirth 
Intent.     And  having  heard,  smiling  they  said  : 
"  Strange  are  our  little  comrades  of  the  earth." 


A  Midnight  Reflection  in  a  Hut 

THIRTY  "  heroes  "  in  a  hut, 
So  the  babblers  call  them,  but 
Sometimes  doubts  assail  us  when 
We  prefer  to  call  them  men. 
For  the  "  heroes  "  quarrel  much, 
And  their  language  is  not  such, 
Always,  as  to  merit  praise, — 
Rather  censure's  frowning  gaze  ; 
Sometimes  greedy,  too,  they  be  ; 
Sometimes  idle,  let's  agree  ; 
Short  of  temper — as  of  breath, 
The  impartial  witness  saith  ; 
Sometimes  cunning,  that's  the  worst 
Sin,  the  Serpenc's,  the  accurst  ! 
So  the  critics  :   they  are  right 
In  a  fashion.     Yet  at  night, 
77 


Soldier  Poets 

After  "  Lights  out  "  and  the  talk 
Subsequent,  and  when  but  the  walk 
Of  the  sentry  tramping  near 
Breaks  the  silence  and  the  queer 
Nasal  noises — "  heroes  "  snore 
Just  like  men  other  and  more — 
They  would  be  of  gentler  mood, 
Seeing  them  on  their  couches  rude, 
Wearied  after  toil,  asleep, 
(Are  their  slumbers  dreamless,  deep  ? 
Or  do  dark  forebodings  mar 
Their  repose  who  silent  are  ?) 
The  white  faces,  if  the  moon 
Chanced  to  shine,  as  in  a  swoon 
Faces  are.     And  were  they  wise 
They  would  say  of  each  that  lies, 
Heedless  both  of  praise  and  blame, 
"  Faults  he  has  but  still  he  came, 
Duty  summoning,  all  men  cherish 
Left  and  but,  perchance,  to  perish." 
Shamefaced  they  would  pass  them  by 
In  the  moonlight  as  they  lie, 
All  on  tiptoe  they  would  flit 
Doorwards,  gently  open  it, 
Glance  back  once  and  all  unknown 
As  they  entered  they'd  be  gone. 


Alexander  Robertson 


To  an  Old  Lady  seen  at  a  Guest-house 
for  Soldiers 

QUIET  thou  didst  stand  at  thine  appointed 
place, 

There  was  no  press  to  purchase — younger  grace 
Attracts  the  youth  of  valour.     Thou  didst  not  know, 
Like  the  old,  kindly  Marthas,  to  and  fro 
To  haste.     Yet  one  could  say,  "  In  thine  I  prize 
The  strength  of  calm  that  held  in  Mary's  eyes." 
And  when  they  came,  thy  gracious  smile  so  wrought 
They  knew  that  they  were  given,  not  that  they 

bought. 

Thou  didst  not  tempt  to  vauntings  and  pretence 
Was  dumb  before  thy  perfect  woman's  sense. 
Blest  who  have  seen,  for  they  shall  ever  see 
The  radiance  of  thy  benignity. 


79 


H.    SMALLEY   SARSON 

PRIVATE,  CANADIAN  CONTINGENT 

Raindrops 

RAINDROPS  falling, 
Falling  on  the  reddened  grass 
Where  through  the  night  battle  held  full  sway, 
Like  Tears  of  God  that  drop  in  pity,  then  pass 
To  wash  our  guilt  away. 


The  Armed  Liner 

r  I  ^HE  dull  grey  paint  of  war 
JL     Covering   the   shining   brass   and   gleaming 

decks 

That  once  re-echoed  to  the  steps  of  youth. 
That  was  before 

The  storms  of  destiny  made  ghastly  wrecks 
Of  Peace,  the  Right  and  Truth. 
Impromptu  dances,  coloured  lights  and  laughter, 
Lovers  watching  the  phosphorescent  waves : 
Now  gaping  guns,  a  whistling  shell ;   and  after 
So  many  wandering  graves. 

80 


H.  Smalley  Sarson 

The  Village 
1914 

SETTLING  behind  the  haze  a  molten  sun 
Clothes  the  distant  spires  in  gossamer, 
Touches  the  swinging  windows  of  the  street 
With  fire,  splashes  the  trees  in  liquid  gold 
And,  in  lassitude  of  slow  decline, 
Heralds  the  twilight's  ease. 

Weary  workers 
Turned  from  the  plow,  home-trudging  from  the 

fields, 
Smile  at  their  thoughts  of  well-earned  peace  and 

rest  : 

For  in  the  village  bustling  pots  and  pans, 
Sweet  pleasant  smells  of  peasant  cookery, 
Spell  preparation  for  the  evening  meal. 

In  doorways,  taking  vantage  of  the  light, 
Sit  here  and  there  a  figure,  busy  still 
With  flying  fingers,  weaving  spider  thread 
To  faery  patterns  of  Valencienne. 
Children  are  laughing ;  by  the  tiny  brook 
They  wander,  playing,  teazing,  now  and  then 
Tossing  a  pebble  at  a  darting  minnow, 
Till  women  voices,  high-pitched  to  attract, 
F  81 


Soldier  Poets 

Cry  Jacques,  Noel  or  Pierre,  when  quietude 
Comes  to  the  rippling  stream,  drifting  sounds 
Of  laughter  only  echoing  from  the  doors 
Subdued  in  harmony. 


Peace  and  goodwill  are  the  master  tones 
Brooding  on  the  happy  evening  scene  : 
The  men,  seated  beneath  the  cafe  windows, 
Talk,  jest  and  laugh,  with  tinkling  glass  or  mug, 
And  smoke  their  red  clay  pipes,  sweet  smelling 

smoke 

Of  home-cured  leaf,  rising  in  pearly  clouds  : 
Whilst  women,  some  still  toiling  at  their  lace, 
'Gossip,  the  elder  matrons  of  their  homes, 
Girlhood  as  all  girls  will,  so  why  say  more  ? 
For  Madeleine,  the  minx,  is  missing.     Where  ? 
Henri,  the  cobbler's  son,  has  vanished  too, 
Strong  evidence  enough  for  village  life. 

Suddenly  the  Cure,  going  to  evensong, 
Comes  from  underneath  the  shadowed  trees, 
A  pleasant  word  for  all,  a  cheery  smile, 
And  in  return  due  reverence  and  faith  : 
Thus  softly  the  twilight  deepens  into  night, 
Boy  and  girl  have,  whispering,  passed  their  way 
To  the  security  of  scented  lanes 
82 


H.  Smalley  Sarson 

To  dream, — sweet  fancies  which  the  young  enjoy, 

The  last  thrush  whistles  in  a  distant  copse, 

As,  only  by  the  glowing  of  a  pipe, 

A  smothered  laugh,  a  restless  infant's  cry, 

Is  the  blue  silence  of  the  Heavens  broken 

To  show  the  stars  humanity  still  lives. 


The  Village 

'9*5 

THE  shrieking  of  a  thousand  maddened  furies 
Riding  the  air,  a  violent  thunder-clap, 
Sharp  vivid  stabs  of  flame  ;  then  falling  bricks 
And  silence  :  deep,  deep  silence  of  the  dead. 
No  other  creature  but  a  scurrying  rat 
Is  seen,  even  the  sparrows  that  last  year 
In  cheeky  self-assurance  chirped  about 
Have  gone  their  way  and  left  the  desolate  place. 
In  May  the  martins  came  again,  to  build 
Their  tiny  homes  on  last  year's  site,  but  found 
The  sheltering  eaves  where  they  had  taken  refuge 
Strewn  on  the  ground. 

Those  scarred  and  tumbling  walls 
Once  were  the  church,  yet  might  have  been  an  inn 
83 


Soldier  Poets 

For  all  the  signs  of  reverence  they  show, 

Save  that  in  the  encircling  shady  yard, 

Heaped  with  scattered  stone,  the  uprooted  graves 

And  broken  crosses  speak  of  holier  days  : 

The  nave,  choked  with  charred  rafters  from  the 

roof, 

Pleads  untended  to  the  wind  and  rain 
Mutely  ;  shelter  even  bats  despise. 

Standing  stricken,  the  weary  shrapnelled  houses 
Seem  skeletons,  grim  and  ghastly  shapes 
Beckoning  with  scraggy  fingers  to  the  sky 
In  silent  plea  for  justice.     A  window  gapes, 
Laughing  in  mockery  the  frame  still  holds, 
Grinning  its  execration. 

No  solid  roof 

Stands  to  offer  hiding  to  a  dog, 
Whilst  in  the  rooms  that  once  were  clean  and  white, 
Midst  the  accumulating  broken  tiles, 
Grasses  and  weeds  already  have  their  hold 
Encroaching  from  the  garden. 
The  road  itself  is  seamed,  pock-marked  with  holes 
Where  you  might  hide  ten  men,  nor  see  their  heads, 
Those  near  the  tiny  stream  filled  to  the  brim 
With  dank  and  turbid  water,  in  greening  slime 
The  bloated  body  of  a  puny  kitten 
Floats,  decayed  and  foul. 


H.  Smalley  Sarson 

So  everywhere 

When  yester-year  found  peace  and  happiness 
Now  death  prowling  lurks  in  gruesome  power  ; 
The  thrushes  sing  no  longer  in  the  woods, 
Whilst  over  all  there  meditates  and  broods 
The  sovereign  cruelty  of  war. 


To  Sister  E.  W. 

YOU  gave  me  a  white~carnation  ; 
Was  it  in  sympathy  ? 
And  did  you  know  the  flower  meant 
Youth's  glad  world  to  me  ? 

A  simple  white  carnation. 
Yet  you  seemed  to  understand 
What  I  craved  was  a  woman's  smile, 
The  touch  of  a  gentle  hand, 

So  you  gave  me  a  white  carnation — 
'Twas  a  foolish  thing  to  do, 
For  whenever  I  see  carnations  now 
I  shall  always  think  of  you. 

ST.  OMER,  June,  1915. 

85 


Soldier  Poets 


The  Shell 

SHRIEKING  its  message  the  flying  death 
Cursed  the  resisting  air, 
Then  buried  its  nose  by  a  battered  church, 
A  skeleton  gaunt  and  bare. 

The  brains  of  science,  the  money  of  fools 
Had  fashioned  an  iron  slave 
Destined  to  kill,  yet  the  futile  end 
Was  a  child's  uprooted  grave. 


86 


C.   H.   SORLEY 

CAPTAIN,  yrn  S.  BATTALION,  SUFFOLK  REGIMENT 

Fragments 

We  have  the  privilege  of  printing  two  fragments  of  verse  by 
Captain  C.  H.  Sorley,  whose  volume,  Marlborough,  and  Other 
Poems,  was  published — a  fine  memorial  to  a  brave  spirit — shortly 
after  he  was  killed  in  action  in  October,  1915.  Other  literary 
remains  not  included  in  this  volume  (excepting  the  following)  are 
not  yet  available.  The  Sonnet — now  first  printed — was  written  in 
1911,  when  the  writer  was  about  16,  and  is  much  earlier  than 
anything  printed  hitherto.  The  Faust  lines  are  taken  from  a  letter 
written  in  December,  1914,  while  in  training.  They  are  preceded 
by  the  words,  "  I  think  that  Germany,  in  spite  of  her  vast  bigotry 
and  blindness,  is  in  a  kind  of  way  living  up  to  the  motto  that 
Goethe  left  her  in  the  closing  words  of  Faust  before  he  died." 

The  original  lines  from  Faust  are  appended,  as  they  show  how 
ingeniously  he  combines  the  separate  passages  into  a  single  piece 
(making  the  transition  by  following  the  change  in  the  sequence  of 
rhyme  which  is  in  the  original).  The  translation  is  almost  literal, 
but  has  a  swing  of  its  own  which  makes  it  worthy  of  comparison 
with  the  original. 

FAUST— Part  II 
(Lines  6944-7) 

AT,  in  this  thought  is  my  whole  life's  persistence, 
This  is  the  whole  conclusion  of  the  true  : 
He  only  owns  his  Freedom,  owns  Existence, 
Who  every  day  must  conquer  her  anew. 

•      87 


Soldier  Poets 

(Lines  6820-3) 

So  let  him  journey  through  his  earthly  day, 
'Mid  hustling  spirits,  go  his  self-found  way, 
Find  torture,  bliss,  in  every  forward  stride, 
He,  every  moment  still  unsatisfied. 

FAUST— Part  II 

Ja  !   diesem  Sinne  bin  ich  ganz  ergeben, 
Das  ist  der  Weisheit  letzter  Schluss  : 
Nur  der  verdient  sich  Freiheit  wie  das  Leben, 
Der  taglich  sie  erobern  muss. 

Er  wandle  so  den  Erdentag  entlang  ; 
Wenn  Geister  spuken,  geh'  er  seiner  gang  ; 
Im  Weiterschreiten  find  'er  Qual  und  Gluck, 
Er,  unbefriedigt  jeden  Augenlick  ! 


Prometheus  Vinctus  Loquitur 

FAR  from  the  farthest  bounds  of  earth — a  land 
Where  never  yet  hath  foot  of  mortal  trod, 
Illimitable,  pathless — here,  a  god 
God-bound,  god-tortured,  god-consumed  I  stand. 
All  day  the  sun  beats  down  upon  the  sand 
Scorching  the  listless  air  ;  and  all  the  night 
The  moon  gleams  cold  with  pale  impassive  light 
Holding  an  icy  sway — and  still  I  stand  ! 
88 


C  H.  Sorley 

And  let  me  stand  so  and  defy  them  all ! 

The  martyr's  exultation  leaps  in  me, 
And  I  am  joyous,  joyous.     He  shall  fall, 

And  I,  whom  he  hath  trampled  on,  shall  see 
His  utter  desolation  :  great  that  fall 

From  heaven's  height  to  hell's  iniquity  ! 


89 


H.  SPURRIER 

PRIVATE,  ROYAL  WARWICKS 
Wounded  at  La  Bassee 

The  Charge  at  Neuve^Chapelle 


charge  we  made  at  Neuve-Chapelle 
A     When  Fate  the  die  had  cast 
Was  like  the  lightning  of  the  clouds 
As  bursts  the  thunder-blast. 
Not  least  among  the  records  red 
For  that  disastrous  year, 
Of  trenches  won  and  lost  again, 
Its  annals  shall  appear. 

Great  battles  have  been  waged  and  won 

Of  more  momentous  power, 

When  Earth  within  the  balance  swung 

In  sanguinary  hour. 

But  redder  morn  did  never  rise 

Than  on  that  doubtful  day, 

Through  Death  and  wire-entanglement 

We  wrought  resistless  way. 

Along  our  line  the  rumour  ran 
And  leaped  from  lip  to  lip, 
Till  that  terrific  call  of  blood 
Had  got  us  all  in  grip. 
90 


H.  Spurrier 

To  raise  a  cheer  we  didn't  dare 
Although  our  blood  was  fire, 
But  waited  for  the  signal  word 
That  would  not  be  "  retire." 

At  last  it  came  like  liquid  flame 

And  flooded  down  the  trench. 

"  '  C  '  Company,  advance  and  charge  !  " 

We  gave  our  limbs  a  wrench, 

And  leaped  upon  the  parapet 

And  flung  a  flaunting  shout, 

As  though  the  fatal  Fiends  of  War 

Were  boisterous  and  about. 

Some  furlongs  four  we  had  to  run 

And  Hell  did  intervene  ; 

A  Death  that  rode  invisible, 

An  Agony  unseen. 

At  every  step  a  comrade  fell, 

Nor  face  of  foe  we  saw. 

Fell  young  Lieutenant  Anderson 

And  gallant  Captain  Shaw. 

Yet  on  we  rushed  and  never  paused, 
For  death  was  in  delay, 
Yet  nearer,  nearer  to  our  goal, 
The  debt  of  blood  to  pay, 


Soldier  Poets 

Our  bayonets  glinting  in  the  sun, 
Our  faces  fierce  and  white, 
With  sobbing  breath  and  staring  eye, 
Yet  bright  with  battle-light. 


Then  shouted  Sergeant-Major  Jones — 

"  On,  lads,  and  follow  me  !  " 

We  gave  a  hoarse  and  broken  cheer 

And  swept  to  VICTORY. 

Right  through  that  belch  of  roaring  death, 

Amidst  the  fiery  drench, 

Hacked  through  their  wire-entanglement, 

And  leaped  and  took  the  trench. 


The  Guerdon 

THE  dews  that  descend  with  the  dawning  ; 
The  stars  that  are  smitten  by  light, 
At  Phoebus'  feet  fainting  and  fawning  ; 
The  flowers  that  unfold  in  delight ; 
The  lark  who  a  lyric  is  trilling 
O'er  woodland  and  hollow  and  hill ; 
The  streams  who  their  fountains  are  filling, 
No  peace  can  instil. 

92 


H*  Spurrier 

No  peace  for  the  love  that  must  languish  ; 
No  hope  for  the  heart  that  is  dead  ; 
No  salve  for  the  soul  in  her  anguish, 
To  memories  immortally  wed. 
The  passion  and  pulse  of  to-morrow 
Will  waken  a  thousand  to  joy, 
A  thousand  to  labour  and  sorrow, 
But  not,  not  my  boy. 

Methought  in  the  night  that  his  prattle 
Came  sweet  from  the  tombs  of  dead  time, 
'Ere  flashed  on  my  vision  the  battle, 
The  ruin,  the  horror,  the  crime. 
His  eyes  they  were  wistful  with  wonder, 
His  cheeks  they  were  rosy  to  kiss, 
His  lips  they  were  parted  asunder, 
And  his  smile  was  bliss. 


And  then  the  blind  hell  that  envelops 

Two  armed  and  unpitying  hates, 

When  Death  to  the  banquet-hall  gallops, 

And  man  is  the  mock  of  the  Fates. 

I  saw  him — Oh,  God  !  can  I  utter 

What  burned  through  mine  eyelids  like  fire  ?- 

Dead,  dead  like  a  dog  in  a  gutter, 

Bleeding  in  mire. 

93 


Soldier  Poets 

His  eyes  they  were  opened  to  Heaven, 
His  curls  they  were  clotted  with  mud, 
His  limbs  they  were  ravaged  and  riven, 
His  lips  had  a  frothing  of  blood. 
Yet  clear  to  my  soul  spake  his  spirit, 
As  scorning  the  fetters  of  Fate, 
As  one  whom  the  might  and  the  merit 
Of  living  crowned  late. 

Weep  not  for  thy  children,  O  mother. 
Wail  not  for  thy  husband,  O  wife. 
Let  brother  not  mourn  for  a  brother 
Who  fell  in  the  foam  of  the  strife. 
For  Pain  we  had  looked  long  upon  her, 
And  danger  and  Death  were  as  wine  ; 
And  glory  is  ours,  we  have  won  her, 
O  mother  of  mine. 


94 


JOHN  WILLIAM   STREETS 
SERGT.,  IZTH  YORK  AND  LANCASTERS  (B.E.F.,  FRANCE) 

Wounded  and  missing,  July,  1916 

Youth's  Consecration 

"  These  verses  were  inspired  while  I  was  in  the  trenches,  where 
I  have  been  so  busy  that  I  have  had  little  time  to  polish  them. 
I  have  tried  to  picture  some  thoughts  that  pass  through  a  man's 
brain  when  he  dies.  I  may  not  see  the  end  of  the  poems,  but  hope 
to  live  to  do  so.  We  soldiers  have  our  views  of  life  to  express, 
though  the  boom  of  death  is  in  our  ears.  We  try  to  convey  some- 
thing of  what  we  feel  in  this  great  conflict  to  those  who  think  of 
us,  and  sometimes,  alas  !  mourn  our  loss.  We  desire  to  let  them 
know  that  in  the  midst  of  our  keenest  sadness  for  the  joy  of  life 
we  leave  behind  we  go  to  meet  death  grim-lipped,  clear-eyed,  and 
resolute-hearted." 

ElVERS  of  Life,  dreamers  with  lifted  eyes, 
O  Liberty,  at  thy  command  we  challenge  Death ! 
The  monuments  that  tell  our  fathers'  faith 
Shall  be  the  altars  of  our  sacrifice. 
Dauntless  we  fling  our  lives  into  the  van, 
Laughing  at  death,  because  within  Youth's  breast 
Flame  lambent  fires  of  Freedom  ;  man  for  man 
We  yield  to  thee  our  heritage,  our  best. 
Life's  highest  product  youth  exults  in  Life  ; 
We  are  Olympian  gods  in  consciousness ; 
Mortality  to  us  is  sweet,  yet  less 
We  value  Ease  when  Honour  sounds  the  strife. 
Lovers  of  life,  we  pledge  thee,  Liberty, 
And  go  to  death  calmly,  triumphantly  ! 
95 


Soldier  Poets 
At  Dawn  in  France 

NIGHT  on  the  plains,  and  the  stars  unfold 
The  cycle  of  night  in  splendour  old  ; 
The  winds  are  hushed,  on  the  fire-swept  hill 
All  is  silent,  shadowy,  still — 
Silent,  yet  tense  as  a  harp  high-strung 
By  a  master  bard  for  deeds  unsung. 
Slowly  across  the  shadowy  night 
Tremble  the  shimmering  wings  of  light, 
And  men  with  vigil  in  their  eyes 
And  a  fever  light  that  never  dies — 
Men  from  the  city,  hamlet,,  town, 
Once  white  faces  tanned  to  brown, — 
Stand  to  the  watch  of  the  parapet 
And  watch,  with  rifles,  bayonets  set, 
For  the  great  unknown  that  comes  to  men 
Swift  as  the  light :  sudden,  then — 

Dawn  !   the  light  from  its  shimmering  wings 
Lights  up  their  faces  with  strange,  strange  things 
Strange  thoughts  of  love,  of  death  and  life, 
Serenity  'mid  sanguine  strife  : — 
Dreams  of  life  where  the  feet  of  youth 
Rush  to  the  pinnacles  of  Truth  ; 
Where  early  dreams  with  pinions  fleet 
Rush  to  find  a  love  complete  ; 
96 


John  William  Streets 

Of  Love  and  Youth  'neath  rosy  bowers 

Sensuous,  mad  with  the  wine-filled  hours, 

Flushed  with  hope  and  joy's  delight, 

Weaving  rapture  from  the  night  : — 

Visions  of  death  where  the  harp  is  still 

And  the  sun  sets  swiftly  behind  youth's  hill ; 

Where  the  song  is  hushed  and  the  light  is  dead 

And  the  man  lies  with  the  remembered  ; 

Where  Memory  weaves  a  paradise, 

A  mother's  face,  her  tender  eyes, 

Her  suffering  for  the  child  she  gave, 

Her  love  unbroken  by  the  grave  ; 

Where  shadows  gather  o'er  the  bliss, 

The  rapture  of  a  bridal  kiss  : — 

Yet  dreams  where  Youth  (sublimity  !) 

Doth  thrill  to  give  for  Liberty 

Its  love,  its  hope,  its  radiant  morn, 

Doth  thrill  to  die  for  the  yet  unborn, 

To  die  and  pay  the  utmost  price 

And  save  its  ideals  thro'  the  sacrifice. 

Thus  at  dawn  do  the  watchers  dream 
Of  life  and  death,  of  love  supreme  : 
Flushed  with  the  dawn,  hope  in  each  breast, 
Their  faces  turn  to  the  starless  west  : 
Thus  at  dawn  do  the  watches  think 
Resolute-hearted  upon  death's  brink 
With  a  strange,  proud  look  on  every  face — 
The  scorn  of  Death,  the  pride  of  race. 
G  97 


Soldier  Poets 
Love  of  Life 

REACH  out  thy  hands,  thy  spirit's  hands,  to  me 
And  pluck  the  youth,  the  magic  from  my 
heart — 

Magic  of  dreams  whose  sensibility 
Is  plumed  like  the  light ;  visions  that  start 
Mad  pressure  in  the  blood  ;  desire  that  thrills 
The  soul  with  mad  delight :   to  yearning  wed 
All  slothf ulness  of  life  ;  draw  from  its  bed 
The  soul  of  dawn  across  the  twilight  hills. 
Reach  out  thy  hands,  O  spirit,  till  I  feel 
That  I  am  fully  thine  ;  for  I  shall  live 
In  the  proud  consciousness  that  thou  dost  give, 
And  if  thy  twilight  fingers  round  me  steal 
And  draw  me  unto  death — thy  votary 
Am  I,  O  Life,  reach  out  thy  hands  to  me  ! 


An  English  Soldier 

HE  died  for  love  of  race  ;  because  the  blood 
Of  northern  freemen  swelled  his  veins ;  arose 
True  to  tradition  that  like  mountain  stood 
Impregnable,  crown'd  with  its  pathless  snows. 
When  broke  the' call,  from  the  sepulchred  years 
Strong  voices  urged  and  stirr'd  his  soul  to  life ; 
98 


John  William  Streets 

The  call  of  English  freemen  fled  his  fears 
And  led  him  (their  true  son)  into  the  strife. 
There  in  the  van  he  fought  thro'  many  a  dawn, 
Stood  by  the  forlorn  hope,  knew  victory  ; 
Proud,  scorning  Death,  fought  with  a  purpose  drawn 
Sword-edged,  defiant,  grand,  for  Liberty. 
He  fell ;  but  yielded  not  his  English  soul — 
That  lives  out  there  beneath  the  battle's  roll. 


A  Soldiers'  Cemetery 

BEHIND  that  long  and  lonely  trenched  line 
To  which  men  come  and  go,  where  brave 
men  die, 

There  is  a  yet  unmarked  and  unknown  shrine, 
A  broken  plot,  a  soldiers'  cemetery. 
There  lie  the  flower  of  youth,  the  men  who  scorn' d 
To  live  (so  died)  when  languished  Liberty  : 
Across  their  graves  flowerless  and  unadorned 
Still  scream  the  shells  of  each  artillery. 
When  war  shall  cease  :   this  lonely  unknown  spot 
Of  many  a  pilgrimage  will  be  the  end, 
And  flowers  will  shine  in  this  now  barren  plot 
And  fame  upon  it  through  the  years  descend  : 
But  many  a  heart  upon  each  simple  cross 
Will  hang  the  grief,  the  memory  of  its  loss. 
99 


Soldier  Poets 

A  Lark  above  the  Trenches 

HUSHED  is  the  shriek  of  hurtling  shells :   and 
hark! 

Somewhere  within  that  bit  of  deep  blue  sky, 
Grand  in  his  loneliness,  his  ecstasy, 
His  lyric  wild  and  free,  carols  a  lark. 
I  in  the  trench,  he  lost  in  heaven  afar  ; 
I  dream  of  love,  its  ecstasy  he  sings  ; 
Both  lure  my  soul  to  love  till,  like  a  star, 
It  flashes  into  life  :  O  tireless  wings 
That  beat  love's  message  into  melody — 
A  song  that  touches  in  this  place  remote 
Gladness  supreme  in  its  undying  note, 
And  stirs  to  life  the  soul  of  memory — 
'Tis  strange  that  while  you're  beating  into  life 
Men  here  below  are  plunged  in  sanguine  strife. 


100 


GILBERT  WATERHOUSE 

LIEUT.,  2ND  ESSEX 

The  Casualty  Clearing  Station 

A  BOWL  of  daffodils, 
A  crimson-quilted  bed, 
Sheets  and  pillows  white  as  snow — 
White  and  gold  and  red — 
And  sisters  moving  to  and  fro, 
With  soft  and  silent  tread. 

So  all  my  spirit  fills 

With  pleasure  infinite, 

And  all  the  feathered  wings  of  rest 

Seem  flocking  from  the  radiant  West 

To  bear  me  thro'  the  night. 

See,  how  they  close  me  in, 

They,  and  the  sisters'  arms, 

One  eye  is  closed,  the  other  lid 

Is  watching  how  my  spirit  slid 

Toward  some  red-roofed  farms, 

And  having  crept  beneath  them,  slept 

Secure  from  war's  alarms. 


101 


E.    F.   WILKINSON,   M.C. 

LIEUT.,  i /8th  BATTALION,  WEST  YORKS.  (LEEDS  RIFLES) 

Dad  o'  Mine 

MIDSUMMER-DAY,   and    the    mad    world 
a-fighting, 

Fighting  in  holes,  Dad  o'  Mine. 
Nature's  old  spells  are  no  longer  delighting 
Passion-filled  souls,  Dad  o'  Mine. 
Vainly  the  birds  in  the  branches  are  singing, 
Vainly  the  sunshine  its  message  is  bringing, 
Over  the  green-clad  earth  stark  hate  is  flinging 
Shadow  for  shine,  Dad  o'  Mine, 
Shadow  for  shine. 


No  one  dare  prophesy  when  comes  an  end  to  it, 
End  to  the  strife,  Dad  o'  Mine. 
When  we  can  take  joy  and  once  again  bend  to  it 
What's  left  of  life,  Dad  o'  Mine. 
Yet  for  one  day  we'll  let  all  slip  behind  us, 
So  that  your  birthday,  Dad,  still  may  remind  us 
How  strong  yet  supple  the  bonds  are  that  bind  us 
Through  shade  and  shine,  Dad  o'  Mine, 
Through  shade  and  shine. 
102 


E.  F.  Wilkinson,  M.C 

Leagues  lie  between  us,  but  leagues  cannot  sever 

Links  forged  by  Love,  Dad  o'  Mine, 

Bonds  of  his  binding  are  fast  bound  forever, 

Future  will  prove,  Dad  o'  Mine. 

Your  strength  was  mine  since  I  first  lisped  your 

name,  Dad, 
Your  thoughts  were  my  thoughts  at  lesson  or  game, 

Dad, 

In  childhood's  griefs,  it  was  ever  the  same,  Dad, 
Your  hand  round  mine,  Dad  o'  Mine, 
Your  hand  round  mine. 


Strengthened  by  shadow  and  shine  borne  together, 

Comrades  and  chums,  Dad  o'  mine, 

We  shall  not  falter  thro'  fair  or  foul  weather, 

Whatever  comes,  Dad  o'  Mine. 

So  in  the  years  to  be  when  you  grow  older, 

Age  puts  his  claims  in  and  weakness  grows  bolder ; 

We'll  stand  up  and  meet  them,  Dad,  shoulder  to 

shoulder, 

Your  arm  in  mine,  Dad  o'  mine, 
Your  arm  in  mine. 


103 


Soldier  Poets 


To  "  My  People,"  before  the  "  Great 
Offensive" 

DARK  with  uncertainty  of  doubtful  doom 
The  future  looms  across  the  path  we  tread ; 
Yet,  undismayed  we  gaze  athwart  the  gloom, 
Prophetically  tinged  with  hectic  red. 
The  mutterings  of  conflict,  sullen,  deep, 
Surge  over  homes  where  hopeless  tears  are  shed, 
And  ravens  their  ill-omened  vigils  keep 
O'er  legions  dead. 


But  louder,  deeper,  fiercer  still  shall  be 

The  turmoil  and  the  rush  of  furious  feet, 

The  roar  of  war  shall  roll  from  sea  to  sea, 

And  on  the  sea,  where  fleet  engages  fleet. 

The  fortunate  who  can,  unharmed,  depart 

From  that  last  field  where  Right  and  Wrong  shall 

meet. 
If  then,  amidst  some  millions  more,  this  heart 

Should  cease  to  beat, — 


Mourn  not  for  me  too  sadly  ;  I  have  been, 
For  months  of  an  exalted  life,  a  King  ; 
104 


E*  F.  Wilkinson,  M.C 

Peer  for  these  months  of  those  whose  graves  grow 

green 

Where'er  the  borders  of  our  empire  fling 
Their  mighty  arms.     And  if  the  crown  is  death, 
Death  while  I'm  fighting  for  my  home  and  king, 
Thank  God  the  son  who  drew  from  you  his  breath 

To  death  could  bring 


A  not  entirely  worthless  sacrifice, 
Because  of  those  brief  months  when  life  meant  more 
Than  selfish  pleasures.     Grudge  not  then  the  price, 
But  say,  "  Our  country  in  the  storm  of  war 
Has  found  him  fit  to  fight  and  die  for  her," 
And  lift  your  heads  in  pride  for  evermore. 
But  when  the  leaves  the  evening  breezes  stir 
Close  not  the  door. 


For  if  there's  any  consciousness  to  follow 
The  deep,  deep  slumber  that  we  know  as  Death, 
If  Death  and  Life  are  not  all  vain  and  hollow, 
If  Life  is  more  than  so  much  indrawn  breath, 
Then  in  the  hush  of  twilight  I  shall  come — 
One  with  immortal  Life,  that  knows  not  Death 
But  ever  changes  form — I  shall  come  home  ; 
Although,  beneath 

105 


Soldier  Poets 

A  wooden  cross  the  clay  that  once  was  I 
Has  ta'en  its  ancient  earthy  form  anew. 
But  listen  to  the  wind  that  hurries  by, 
To  all  the  Song  of  Life  for  tones  you  knew. 
For  in  the  voice  of  birds,  the  scent  of  flowers, 
The  evening  silence  and  the  falling  dew, 
Through  every  throbbing  pulse  of  nature's  powers 
I'll  speak  to  you. 


WM.    BRENDON    AND    SON,    LTD.,  PRINTERS,  PLYMOUTH,   ENGLAND 


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THE   WAR    IN    POETRY 

A  WOMAN'S  WAR  SONGS  AND  SONNETS. 

By  C.  A.  Renshaw.     Cloth,  2/6  net.  Shortly. 

POEMS  OF  WAR  AND  PEACE.  By  S.  Gertrude 
Ford.  is.  net. 

WAR  SONGS  AND  SONNETS.  By  Alfred 
Williams,  author  of  "  Songs  in  Wiltshire,"  etc. 
Cloth,  Crown  8vo,  2/6  net. 

POEMS  OF  1915.  By  Violet  Gillespie.  Crown 
Svo,  Cloth,  2/6  net. 

THE  DAY  OF  BATTLE :  An  Epic  of  the  War. 
By  Arthur  Thrush.  I/-  and  2/6  net. 

OUR  HEROES  (1914-16):  A  Tribute  and  a 
Memorial.  By  Aimee  E.  Eagar,  sister  to  Lt.- 
Col.  Eagar  and  aunt  of  2nd  Lt.  Everard  Digges 
La  Touche,  R.I.F.,  killed  at  Gallipoli,  and  Lt. 
A.  D.  La  Touche,  killed  at  Hooge. 

A  CROWN  OF  AMARANTH :  A  Collection  of 
noble  poems  to  the  Memory  of  the  Brave  and 
Gallant  Gentlemen  who  have  given  their  lives 
for  Great  and  Greater  Britain,  1914-16.  Vellum 
Wrappers,  I/-  net-,  Cloth,  2/6  net. 

The  contributors  include  Capt.  Julian  Grenfell, 
the  Marquess  of  Crewe,  Mrs.  Meynell,  Katharine 
Tynan,  Frank  Taylor,  Canon  Scott,  Laurence 
Binyon,  etc. 

ERSKINE   MACDONALD 
MALORY  HOUSE,  FEATHERSTONE  BUILDINGS,  LONDON,  W.C. 


On  the  Scope  and  Quality 

OF   THE 

Little  Books  of  Georgian  Verse 

"  Here  is  a  brave  new  publishing  adventure  which  I  know  will  take 
your  fancy.  Mr.  Erskine  MacDonald,  one  of  the  most  alive  and  enter- 
prising of  our  younger  publishers,  has  just  issued  the  first  volumes  in  a 
series  of  *  Little  Books  of  Georgian  Verse,'  under  the  capable  editorship 
of  Miss  S.  Gertrude  Ford." — From  "What  to  Read"  in  The  Bookman. 

"  We  are  glad  to  welcome  a  new  endeavour  to  popularize  the  work  of 
present  day  poets.  The  editor  and  publisher  of  this  definite  series  of  con- 
temporary verse  hope  that  by  judicious  and  sympathetic  selection  of  the 
volumes  the  confidence  of  the  discriminating  public  interested  in  new 
poetry  will  be  gained  ;  that  *  each  little  volume  of  authentic  promise  or 
distinctive  achievement  will  be  found  to  contain  something  really  notable 
and  precious  in  the  best  sense  of  the  term .  .  .  that  they  will  prove  that 
new  verse  as  well  as  more  utilitarian  books  can  be  published  successfully 
at  a  low  price.'  It  is  all  to  the  good  that  the  promoters  of  this  interest- 
ing undertaking  have  placed  before  themselves  so  definite  an  ideal  j  and 
they  may  be  sure  that  if,  as  they  think,  the  present  generation  is  more 
responsive  now  than  at  any  previous  time  to  the  spirit  of  poetry,  the 
enterprise  will  not  be  allowed  to  fail." — The  Bookseller. 

"  It  is  a  bold  and  interesting  experiment  that  Mr.  Erskine  MacDonald 
is  making  with  the  Georgian  series  of  daintily  produced  volumes  of  verse 
by  writers  of  the  neo-Georgian  era  ;  it  is  bold  because  there  is  a  tradition 
— it  has  been  refuted  again  and  again — that  *  poetry  doesn't  pay,'  a  say- 
ing which  is  paralleled  by  the  old  theatre  tag  that  *  Shakespeare  spells 
bankruptcy.'  There  have,  fortunately  both  for  writers  of  poetry  and  for 
readers  thereof,  always  been  publishers  who  have  flown  in  the  face  of 
tradition,  and  have  proved  it  wrong.  . . .  Now  Mr.  MacDonald  is  follow- 
ing the  same  admirable  course  and  is,  in  slang  parlance,  going  even  one 
better  than  his  contemporaries,  and  producing  his  latest  renderings  of 
the  age  in  song  in  a  perfectly  tasteful  way  at  the  price  of  a  shilling  a 
volume.  Judging  by  the  first  volumes  of  the  series,  the  new  venture 
assuredly  deserves  success,  for  it  can  safely  be  said  that  in  the  matter  of 
beautiful  paper  and  type  and  neat  covers  the  publisher  has  done  his  best 
to  that  end.  The  general  editor  of  the  series  is  Miss  S.  Gertrude  Ford, 
who  may  be  warmly  congratulated  upon  the  *  finds  '  represented.  These 
Little  Books  of  Georgian  Verse  are  all  so  good  that  they  should  have  a  con- 
siderable success  as  small  greeting-gifts  on  birthdays  and  other  occasions." 

"Daily  Telegraph. 

Send  for  list  of  titles  and  ask  for  the  series  at  any  bookshop. 


ERSKINE  MACDONALD,  LONDON,  W.C. 


A   BRAFE   "HUMAN   DOCUMENT." 


LETTERS    FROM 
ANOTHER    BATTLEFIELD 

Fcp.  Svo, paper  wrappers,  is.  net ;  cloth,  3*.  6d.  net. 


"A  pathetic  story  is  told  in  these  thoughtful  and  significant 
letters  between  a  wounded  soldier  and  his  betrothed  —  dying  of 
tuberculosis." — Athenaum. 

"Serious,  moralising  literary  letters,  giving  a  pleasant  enough 
picture  of  sanatorium  life." — The  Times  Lit.  Sup. 

u  Some  very  tender  and  beautiful  letters.  ...  A  slight  but  very 
human  story." — New  Witness. 

"Full  of  little  pictures  radiant  with  humour,  yet  drenched  in 
something  too  deep  for  tears.  .  .  .  The  people  who  stroll  through 
these  pictures  are  none  of  them  dull  .  .  .  they  are  real,  and  one 
desires  to  shake  hands  with  them  and  wish  them  God-speed  as 
they  pass." — Christian  Commonwealth. 

"The  charm  of  quietness.  .  .  .  These  pages  have  the  radiance 
of  a  hopeful  spirit,  which,  drawn  into  the  backwaters  of  life, 
meditates  upon  the  busy  world  beyond  the  peaceful  park  and  the 
still  rooms.  The  reader  also  feels  that  this  is  a  genuine  human 
document  full  of  pathos  and  heroism,  describing  a  remorseless  war 
in  which  there  are  no  honours  or  decorations  for  the  bravest. 
Underneath  the  letters  there  is  an  undercurrent  of  intellectual  activity 
which  broadens  their  outlook,  and  we  unhesitatingly  commend  this 
charming  little  book  for  its  biautiful  plea,  its  picturesque  English,  and 
its  quiet  heroism.  It  is  a  book  which  makes  one  thankful  for  the 
legacy  of  perfect  health  ;  it  is  also  a  narrative  which  delights  by  its 
tender  humour  and  twilight  grace." — Liverpool  Post. 

"  These  letters  from  a  sanatorium  belong  to  the  subjective, 
Arthur  Benson  School  .  .  .  cultured,  pensive,  sentimental,  with 
the  familiar  background  of  sickness  striving  against  the  intangible." 

The  Hospital. 

ERSKINE  MACDONALD,  LONDON,  W.C. 


, 


"The  'Poetry  Review'  has  become  a  magazine  of  inter- 
national eminence;"— Literary  Digest. 

"It  contains  good  poetry  and  sound  criticism.  It  is  a 
dignified  publication,  with  no  insincerity  about  it.  It  is  perhaps 
the  most  critical  journal  of  the  kind,  for  it  stimulates  just  that 
attention  to  the  laws  of  literature  which  is  so  lacking  in 
others." — Mr.  Alfred  Noyes  in  an  interview. 

THE 

POETRY    REVIEW 

EDITED   BY 

GALLOWAY    KYLE 


Published  bi-monthly,  is.  net ;  annual  postal 
subscription  to  any  part  of  the  world,  6s.  6d. 
(free  to  members  of  the  Poetry  Society). 


The  leading  journal  devoted  to 
Poetry  &  Poets  (old  and  new)  and 
the  cultivation  of  the  Imagination, 


"  Original  verse  of  much  distinction  and  literary  criticism  of 
high  quality  are  the  stable  contents  of  the  various  issues  of 
'The  Poetry  Review.'  .  .  .  Much  of  the  original  verse  has  been 
contributed  by  writers  who  are  now  in  khaki,  and  of  those  not 
a  few  should  be  sure  of  a  permanent  place  in  any  anthology  of 
the  war.  All  lovers  of  the  best  in  literature  will  find  their  tastes 
admirably  catered  for  in  ( The  Poetry  Review. '  "—Daily  Graphic. 

Subscribe   through  your  bookseller ',  or  send  order 
and  remittance  direct  to  the  Publisher. 


ERSKINE    MACDONAL 

MALORY    HOUSE, 
FEATHERSTONE    BUILDINGS,    W.C. 


D 


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Soldier  poets